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Dental Implants: A Lifelong Dental Fix

Dental implants are able to fully replace your real teeth. In fact, they are able to do many things that other tooth replacement options can’t do. The office of Rod Gleave, DMD stands behind our endorsement of dental implants as our best tooth replacement option, and our Salt Lake City office wants to tell you a bit about this wonder of the world of dentistry.

A Dental Solution Straight Out Of Legend

Dental implants may seem to have burst on the scene here in the last 10 to 15 years, but in reality, they are as old as some of the world’s earliest civilizations. The first evidence of dental implants is actually found in the ancient Mayan culture. Archeological digs have uncovered skeletons that show the evidence of these early attempts to replace missing teeth. The Mayans would take seashells or hard mineral and insert them into the open spaces left by missing teeth. These early attempts were less than effective, but they do show us something that is critical to the effectiveness of today’s dental implants. These early skeletons show evidence of the body attempting to integrate the crude tooth replacements into the dental structure.

You’re probably asking how that has anything to do with modern dental implants. The reason that matters is that it shows that the body is willing to accept a tooth replacement. At least, one that it can effectively integrate with. The body will do the work; we just have to give it something to work with.

The Mistake That Changed Everything

Ironically, the breakthrough that makes modern dental implants so effective was actually a mistake. An orthopedic surgeon named Dr. P. Brånemark was researching blood flow in the bones of rabbits in 1952. He placed titanium cylinders into the femur bones of the rabbits. When he went to remove these cylinders, he found that they were not able to be removed. The titanium had bonded with the bone. In fact, it had bonded so fully that the bone would break when removing the cylinders. The break didn’t occur between the cylinder and the bone, but rather between bone and bone. This bonding trait is called osseointegration, and it is unique to titanium.

This finding was incredible to Dr. Brånemark, and it got him thinking about the implications of his discovery. Dr. Brånemark used his research to develop the first set of titanium dental implants. He placed them in a patient in 1965. Within six months, these implants were fully integrated with the bone, and they lasted 40 years. We had finally found something the body could work with in regards to replacing a person’s natural tooth and tooth root.

Benefits Of Dental Implants

Dental implants are a wonder of modern dentistry, but they have three distinct advantages over other tooth replacement options. Here are those advantages.

Stability – Osseointegration makes all the difference when it comes to why dental implants are as good as it gets. The one thing you need from your teeth is for them to stay where they are while you eat, talk, and smile. Other tooth replacement options like conventional dentures don’t always do this, but dental implants do. The implant is not just placed in your jawbone but rather becomes part of your jawbone. Once there, it isn’t going to go anywhere. You get unsurpassed levels of stability with dental implants thanks to osseointegration.

Bone Protection – Something that is overlooked when people lose their real teeth is the support and protection they afforded to the jawbone. When you lose a real tooth, that opens a spot in your jaw. If that spot isn’t filled with something, your bone will begin to deteriorate. Think about those people who look like their face has shrunk after losing their teeth. The reason they look like that is that their supporting bone structure is diminished. Dental implants will help prevent this damage from occurring. You will have a full appearance that is protected with dental implants.

Longevity – The first set of titanium dental implants were able to last 40 years. If our first shot at titanium dental implants lasted that long, how long do you think our modern versions can last? Given the advancements in dental implant technology, there is every reason in the world to believe that your dental implants will last you for as long as you live. In fact, modern dental implants have a 95 percent success rate, or higher.

If you need to find a tooth replacement option or want to upgrade to a better one, call our office today at 801-747-8531 to schedule your consultation.