Dental implants are the best available way to replace missing teeth because they look and function just like the real thing. They have become increasingly common over recent decades, and you have certainly seen far more of them than you realize. However, dental implants were not always the incredibly lifelike and functional artificial teeth that they are today. Here’s how dental implants have evolved to better suit your needs.
Ancient Dental Implants
Humans have fretted over the problem of tooth loss since time immemorial, and they have tried to resolve it by placing foreign objects into their empty tooth sockets for well over a thousand years. Ancient cultures would use bits of seashells, animal teeth, teeth from the dead, and carved stones to make primitive dental implants, and archaeologists have found evidence that these restorations successfully fused to the jawbone in some cases.
Dental Implants Start Becoming Modern
The development that made modern dental implants possible happened in the 1950s when it was discovered that titanium was inherently capable of forming a direct physical bond with living bone tissue. This allowed for the creation of implants that could fuse to the jawbone, creating a sturdy foundation that allowed dental implants to behave like real teeth.
Since then, oral surgeons have learned much more about how titanium interacts with human bone. Early dental implants were smooth and required about six months to complete healing. Now it is known that bone grows much more easily against a textured surface, and this also provides it with more surface area to fuse with. This has led dental implants to form stronger bonds with the jaw while healing in about six weeks.
How Can I Ensure My Dental Implants Heal Properly?
If you’ve recently gotten implants, you’re certainly going to want to protect your investment. The healing time for dental implants comes down to however long it takes for the process of osseointegration to become complete. The first thing to do is follow your dentist’s post-operative instructions after the surgery. As the healing process continues, you will want to refrain from using the tooth for anything if you can avoid it. It’s best to quit smoking as well, as tobacco is an infamous culprit behind dental implant failure.
Dental implants have come a long way to become the high-quality restorations we are familiar with today. Consulting with your dentist can determine if dental implants are a suitable treatment for you.
About the Author
Dr. Frank Michitti earned his dental doctorate from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and has accrued over one thousand hours of continuing education. He is proud to be a member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. His office in Agawam, MA offers preventive, restorative, cosmetic, and emergency dentistry as well as dental implant services. To book a dental implant consultation, contact the office online or dial (413) 786-4400.