Did you know that one shark can lose and replace up to 35,000 teeth in its lifetime?
Did you know that alligators can regrow up to 3,000 teeth?
This is one area where animals have a big advantage over humans.
We lose all our baby teeth around the time we turn 12 years old. They are replaced by our “adult” or permanent teeth. If we lose those, that’s it.
At least, that’s how Mother Nature would have it.
Fortunately, humans have an advantage over alligators and sharks — our brains. We haven’t figured out how to regrow our teeth, but we do have a way to replace them thanks to dental implants.
Keep reading to find out how dentist Denise DiBona, DDS, in Red Bank, NJ, can help if you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth.
How Implants Were Developed
You could say this was a slow but gradual process.
Tooth replacement isn’t anything new. People have been trying to replace lost teeth for about as long as people have had civilizations.
Ancient cultures used animal teeth, animal bones, and ivory as tooth replacements. The Mayans even used carved stones and seashells as substitutes for lost teeth.
As we got closer to modern dentistry, dentists would sometimes use teeth that had been removed from dead bodies to help their patients. Ceramic materials provided other means of filling in gaps in someone’s smile.
But the big breakthrough that led to modern dental implants happened in 1952, according to the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
As part his research, physician Per-Ingvar Brånemark placed a titanium cylinder into the rabbit’s bone. When it was time for him to remove the cylinder, he found it was stuck. The bone had grown around and bonded to the titanium.
This accidental discovery led to the development of titanium dental implants, which have been used for more than 40 years.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants replace the roots of your teeth.
You may be aware that each tooth is divided into two sections.
The crown is the part of the tooth that you use to eat. It’s what you show when people ask you to smile for a photo.
The root holds your tooth in your jaw, much like the root of a tree holds it in the ground.
The root is the foundation that gives your crown the power to bite, chew, and grind your food.
If you lose a tooth, you will have a gap in your smile, but you also have a hole in your jaw. A dental implant can fill in that hole, and it can support the replacement(s) for your missing crowns.
Implants aren’t just placeholders. They also help keep your jaw healthy.
Every time you bite down, the roots of your teeth press into your jawbone. This stimulates the bone, which results in new growth. This keeps your jaw healthy and strong.
Dental implants do virtually the same thing. This is why the jawbone grows around your implant and hold it firmly in your mouth.
Three Ways Implants Can Help
Dental implants are the most effect way to replace missing or lost teeth. We can pair them with one of three other tooth replacements to repair your smile and restore you eating ability.
◆ Dental crowns
Dental crowns are made of porcelain and are used to replace individual teeth. If you have lost one tooth, we can place a dental implant in your jaw. Then we will fit a dental crown on the abutment of the implant.
With your crown on your implant, people may not know that one of your teeth is fake … unless you decide to tell them.
◆ Dental bridges
If you are missing multiple teeth, then you may consider getting a dental bridge or partial dentures. Some bridges are secured by removing parts of otherwise healthy teeth to provide support.
Rather than damaging a healthy tooth, you could place an implant or implants in your jaw. The bridge can be attached to the implants for stability.
Speaking of support and stability, this is where dental implants really show what they can do. We have multiple dental implants to hold a full set of dentures in the mouths of many patients.
Traditional dentures rest over someone’s gums. You can smile with them, but eating can be difficult.
With implant-retained dentures, you can eat the same foods that you could eat when you had all your teeth. You can eat whatever you want without worrying that your dentures will come loose.
Feel The Difference
Our hope is that dental implants are like the fire department. You are glad to know they are available, but you hope you never need them.
If you are already missing a tooth or teeth, however, call Denise DiBona, DDS, to find out if you are a good candidate for dental implants.