At Nashville Aesthetic Dentistry – Dennis J. Wells, DDS in Brentwood, we are always stressing the importance of good dental health. But we know that in spite of everyone’s best efforts, a few of our patients are going to lose a tooth. When that happens, we recommend dental implants as the best solution.
A dental implant is a titanium post inserted into the patient’s jawbone. It fuses with the bone in a process known as osseointegration, and becomes a foundation for an artificial tooth. It also acts as a replacement tooth root, and helps to prevent bone loss.
Dental implants have been hailed as the greatest technological advancement in dental history. Modern implants have evolved in the last few decades. But did you know that humans have been trying to replace lost teeth with implants for thousands of years?
By today’s standards, those earliest implants were very crude. The first known instance of an implanted tooth, archaeologists tell us, comes from the remains of an Egyptian king, whose upper jaw had a copper peg in it. They think it was hammered into place. Don’t think about that for very long.
Later on, other cultures made implants from carved bamboo, pieces of stone and steel, and even sea shells. Experiments became more sophisticated, but even into the twentieth century implants tended to fail because the body would reject it. In 1952 a doctor discovered that the body did not reject titanium, and that proved to be the turning point.
Today dental implants have success rates in the area of ninety-five percent. Some forecasters say this will improve in the years ahead. The main reason dental implants fail is oral microbial infection. Future generations of dental implants are expected to have a reservoir that slowly releases anti-microbial medicine that prevents the growth of bacteria.
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