Health & Wellness

Root of the Matter

by Amanda Bedgood

Dental implants that stay put

Dental implants aren‘t what they used to be. What some in the industry consider the single largest development in dentistry since first arriving in the 1970s at an office near you has made another leap.

"We‘ve really gotten more exact than ever," says Dr. Samuel Moss, who has been practicing dentistry in Lafayette for three decades. "3D X-rays. We can actually see the density of the bone from all directions."

Dental implants, referred to by some as your "third set" of teeth, are comprised of a titanium screw that is placed into the jaw with a crown atop it. The option was discovered by happenstance in the early 1950s and began arriving in dentists‘ offices sometime in the 1970s. But it wasn‘t until recently that a doctor could have an accurate idea of what he would find before performing the surgery. New strides in X-ray are changing that and giving the dentist exact views to plan and prepare before inserting the implants successfully.

"They look like something almost God gave you," Moss says, noting there is little difference by outward standards.

It takes three to five months for the body to assimilate and there‘s a 95 percent success rate.

"It becomes the strongest tooth in your [mouth]," Moss says.

The down time is shrinking as well; what once took a week to recover now takes a day or maybe two.

"Now we can analyze to see what kind of implant and it‘s not like a Pandora‘s box. You can see and plan exactly."

The result is a tooth or group of teeth that aren‘t going anywhere.

"It‘s not something falling in and out of their mouth - dentures or partials," Moss says.

The options for missing teeth don‘t just include singular teeth. Moss says there are creative solutions and a cost that isn‘t nearly as hefty as many imagine.

"It‘s for people that want a more permanent solution," he says.

Like the Real Thing

Implants function just like real teeth. Although dentures and bridges can help simulate the function of real teeth, they do not stimulate the jawbone. Implants are placed directly in the jawbone, just like the root of a tooth. As a result, they can put a stop to painful, damaging resorption, so that you never have to deal with that "sunken in" look. On top of that, implants are sturdier than any other forms of dental appliance.

Source: Dr. Samuel Moss

By Chance

What we know today as dental implants are the result of a discovery by an orthopedist studying the healing of bone in a rabbit limb. The titanium optical chamber he used had fused to the bone and could not be removed. By the 1970s the concept was used on patients who could not stabilize or tolerate dentures. When teeth are lost and bone is no longer supporting or connected to teeth, bone resorption occurs. Because dental implants fuse to the bone they stabilize it and prevent further bone loss.

Source: Dear Doctor Magazine