Believe it or not, the replacement of human teeth by means of an implant into the jaw has a history that reaches back some 4000 years.
In Ancient burial sites from China, Egypt and South American skeletons have been unearthed that show the ancients using things like bamboo and shells hammered into the site of a lost tooth as a replacement. In fact Egyptian Mummies show evidence of human to human tooth transplants that appear to have taken hold. Some of this primitive dentistry worked very well indeed.
The modern version of such procedures, modern tooth replacement, involves titanium, glue and ceramic, plus a fair amount of time, not to mention cost.
These days the surgery is so widespread, so common, that the old skool removable denture is becoming a dinosaur. Once upon a time teeth, like stars, came out at night, these days, losing a teeth, or even several, means using fakes so incredibly well disguised that even trained professionals would be hard pressed to spot the difference.
So what is the latest in implant technology?
In the beginning, modern implant procedures involved a lot of waiting to heal.
The operation itself was not an easy one, in spite of medical advancements. Firstly, if there was plenty of bone in the jaw, a hole was drilled into the bone and a titanium screw was fixed into the spot, along with a kind of ‘holding’ peg that would later be replaced by the implant itself. This could take up to a year to heal and prepare. If the screw didn’t take (if the bone surrounding it didn’t fix onto the implant ‘root’) problems arose.
This was only even going to work easily if the bone density was sufficient in the first place. If not, either a bone graft from the patient, or even from a cadaver, was used to build up the area so that the implant would successfully imbed.
Jaws and teeth take a lot of pressure, and any damage to the area caused by a bad fit, or a lack of strength meant bigger problems down the line.
The latest techniques being used by dental professionals includes shorter and wider posts being placed into the jaw- which means the site is stronger, and the healing time is actually less.
It literally means more surface area for the implants ‘root’, and is therefore easier to manage. There are less likely to be micro fractures in the jawline if the pressure of biting is spread over a wider surface.
Also, doctors are using the latest bio-technology to improve and reduce the number of bone grafts needed. A new technique using Bi-Phasic Calcium Sulfate to assist in bone growth means a faster rate of replacement of teeth.
Nowadays, some implants can be done within a day, not over the span of months.
3D graphics, scanning technology and better bio-tech means that patients and doctors are able to assess any problems OUTSIDE of the mouth, and before implant procedures begin.
Dentures, as in a whole bunch of teeth, do still exist, but even they have changed. These days, dentists will fix a kind of semi-permanent set of teeth into the jaw with a kind of ‘plug in’ approach. Implants into the gum mean that there is a sort of ‘snap-lock’ feel to the denture. They don’t move around like they used to, and they also don’t sit in a glass of water at night anymore. Those days are long gone.
Dentistry, like everything, is part of the brave new world of bio-technology, and that is no bad thing. Falsies as we used to know them are a thing of the past. The latest in smiles are almost as real as the real thing, and sometimes ten times stronger, better and prettier.
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