In the 1950s, a Swedish physician was doing research with rabbits when he made an amazing discovery. It’s not really what he was looking for, but it set him on a new path.
This new path led to the creation of one of the greatest inventions in modern dentistry — dental implants.
For patients with missing teeth, we have found that dental implants are the most effective way to recreate the appearance of their smiles and to restore the full function of their teeth.
If you live in or near Eugene, OR, our dentist would be happy to help you, too. You can learn more about dental implants by calling Eugene Family Dental or by continuing to read today’s post.
A Leap Forward
Tooth replacement is not a new concept. Ancient cultures used seashells, rocks, ivory, and animal bones as substitutes for lost and missing teeth.
Within the last few hundred years, people used teeth removed from the deceased. We (humans) also developed new materials, like porcelain, that more closely resembled the appearance of natural teeth.
Dental implants are the biggest leap forward to date, and we can thank Per-Ingvar Brånemark for that. Dr. Brånemark is the physician who we mentioned earlier. He is credited with developing the modern dental implant.
In the 1950s, he was doing research on blood circulation when he placed titanium cylinders into the leg of a rabbit. His intention was to reuse the cylinders throughout his research.
That proved to be more difficult than he anticipated. When we tried to remove the cylinders, Dr. Brånemark learned that they were stuck. The bone in the rabbit’s leg had grown around and bonded to the cylinder, making it extremely difficult to remove.
Dr. Brånemark understood the potential implications of this finding, and in 1965, he successfully placed his first dental implants into a patient.
Since then, Dr. Brånemark and others have continued to make improvements to those original dental implants.
For his efforts, Dr. Brånemark was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame earlier this month.
Dental Implants And You
Dental implants are different than other teeth replacements. Unlike dental crowns, bridges, and dentures, implants are used to replace the missing roots of your teeth.
This is significant because it is good for the health of your jaw and because it makes your teeth replacements more stable and secure.
The roots of your natural teeth and your jawbones have a mutually beneficial relationship. Your roots anchor your teeth in your jaw.
Each time you take a bite or chew on a piece of food, your roots are pushed into your jaw. Now, your jawbone is losing old tissue all the time. As long as it is being stimulated (such as happens with your roots), then it will continue producing new tissues to replace the old ones. This keeps your jaw healthy and strong.
Those new tissues bond to your roots, which holds them in place. When you lose a tooth or teeth, then part of your jaw loses this stimulation. If the root is not replaced, you will gradually lose bone mass, which can limit the long-term effectiveness of some teeth replacements.
Dental implants are placed into your jaw, where your roots used to be. Like your roots, the implants provided stimulation to your jawbone. The resulting new tissue growth keeps the bone bonded to your implant, which makes it a solid foundation for other things.
Here are three ways we used dental crowns for our patients:
#1. Dental crowns
A single lost tooth can be replaced with a dental implant and a dental crown. After the implant is placed, the crown can be bonded to the implant, which will allow you to eat as well as you ever could.
#2. Dental bridges
For people who are missing two or more teeth, an implant-supported bridge is the most effective way to restore your smile and your bite. This kind of bridge can be placed on one or more implants depending on the location of the missing teeth and the number of teeth to be replaced.
Traditional dentures rest over your gums. They don’t have much support, which is why they can come loose when you eat, talk, sneeze, cough, or laugh.
With implant-supported dentures, you can regain something very close to your original bite force. This makes eating much easier, and it can give you confidence that your dentures will remain where they should in social and professional situations.
Dental implants turn dental crowns, bridges, and denture from good teeth replacements into great ones. To learn more or to find out how to get dental implants for yourself, call Eugene Family Dental at 458-205-5189 or fill out our online form.
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