Because they’ve only become commonplace in the last 15 years or so, it’s easy to assume dental implants are a new development. Actually, they’ve been used for tooth restoration for over 50 years. Truth is, implants have been around even longer. They weren’t the modern variety with titanium, but different types of implants have been used, or at least attempted.
Archeological digs have unearthed implanted seashells and ivory in the jawbone of ancient Mayans and Egyptians. Who wouldn’t want a cochina shell sitting in there between their natural teeth?
As for the modern implant, titanium is the key. Titanium is the only metal that, oddly enough, is compatible with the human body. This means that it can be used inside the body, everything from the gums and jawbone for an implant to the hips and knees, and it won’t be rejected.
The modern dental implant can be traced back to 1952. Swedish orthopedic surgeon, Per-Ingvar Branemark, was studying bone healing and regeneration. He inserted a titanium screw into a rabbit tibia to mend a break, but found that when he tried to remove the screw later the bone had fully grown around it and it couldn’t be removed. A decade of research followed and the modern dental implant debuted in 1965.
Dr. Fong believes dental implants are the best solution to replace a missing tooth, whether it is a tooth that is already gone, or a tooth that is so badly damaged or decayed that it requires extraction.
Some people don’t think you need to replace a missing tooth or two. Not so. If you don’t replace a missing tooth the adjacent teeth tend to spread out to fill the gap. This creates problems with your overall bite and tooth alignment.
Here are some other facts about dental implants:
- 25% of Americans over age 74 have lost all of their natural teeth.
- An estimated 69% of Americans age 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth.
- Dental implants are basically a titanium screw that is set into the hole in the jawbone where the natural tooth root was anchored. The jawbone then grows around the implant in a process known as osseointegration.
- Once in place, implants function like a natural tooth, transferring the energy from biting and chewing down into the jawbone beneath the artificial tooth. This stimulation is responsible for the jawbone continually renewing itself, a process that prevents bone loss.
- Implants can also be used to anchor partial or complete dentures.
- Implants now have a 98% success rate.
If you’re missing a tooth, call Dr. Fong at 714-549-1903 and let’s get to work replacing it with a beautiful, functional dental implant.