Dental implants have become one of the most successful and reliable treatments dentistry has to offer. How did this happen, and what makes them so effective? Well, the secret behind their 95% success rate lies in the fact that they replace both your root and your tooth. How did they get to where they are today? Dr. Brian Fann takes a look at the evolution of dental implants.
What is a Dental Implant?
Essentially comprised of three important parts:
- A biocompatible titanium post, which is surgically placed into the jawbone to act as the foundation, or root of your new tooth.
- An abutment, which attaches the crown to the implant post.
- A high quality porcelain crown, which replaces the missing tooth.
Dental implants do require a healing time after they are placed to allow your bone to integrate with the implant and secure the foundation for your new tooth.
Where It All Began
While archeologists have discovered evidence of ancient forms of dental implants such as seashells or stones embedded in the jaws of Mayan skulls, dental implants didn’t really take off until the 1950’s. A Swedish orthopedic surgeon accidentally stumbled on the discovery of the benefits of titanium for implants, when he found he could not remove the metal from some rabbit bone that he had implanted earlier.
From there it was found that titanium was not only biocompatible, but also very strong and durable, giving implants the longevity to last a lifetime in some cases. Companies began to manufacture titanium in the shape of a root, and over time we learned that a rough surface integrated with the bone better than a smooth surface. Today, dental implants are designed with “threads,” much like a screw, which allow the implant to be placed snugly into the jawbone, requiring less healing time than before.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Because an implant replaces your root, it keeps your bone healthy and stimulated, which protects it from the deterioration that occurs when a root is missing. Your new crown keeps your healthy teeth from shifting into the open space, and also keeps your bite and teeth aligned properly.
Your crown is customized to match your existing teeth, which naturally complements your smile, so no one will ever know you were missing a tooth. Because your implant closely mimics your natural tooth, you’ll enjoy all the function you had before, which means you’ll chew, eat, smile, talk, and brush with ease once again.
If your tooth is missing or failing, we invite you to contact our office today to learn more about the possibilities for your tooth, and how Dr. Fann can help you.