Health, fitness and Food
Sea Shells And Robot Teeth: Why Dental Implanst Are The Best Choice For Oral Health
We might think of dental implants that replace missing teeth as a fairly modern medical development, but the process actually stretches back for centuries. In 1931, the jawbone remains of a young Mayan woman were discovered in Honduras. The remains date back to around 600 AD, and it was discovered that seashells had been shaped as three replacement teeth and had been inserted into the jaw. The gum had grown back around the seashells, fixing them in place, meaning that they presumably worked as functional teeth. Dental implants as we know them were developed in the 1950’s, and over the decades, the process has developed into an effective way to replace teeth that have been lost to gum disease or accident. So how do dental implants work? And why should you be considering them to replace lost or damaged teeth?
The Curse of the Missing Tooth
Having a missing tooth is hugely inconvenient. No matter what the circumstances were that led to the loss, you might feel somewhat lucky if the loss occurred towards the back of your mouth, and so can’t easily be seen by others. This is still a major issue, and the teeth surrounding the gap might begin to deteriorate at an increased rate, as they’re put under additional stress – having to work extra hard to make up for their missing brother. A missing tooth at the front of your mouth can be a major embarrassment, and you might even be afraid to laugh or smile. Your jawbone can also begin to deteriorate when a tooth is missing. The jawbone can begin to lose strength in areas where it’s no longer supporting a tooth, and in extreme cases this can even lead to an overall sagging of the jaw, which can become visible in your face.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
A dental implant effectively replaces the missing tooth. It looks and functions like a natural tooth, and only you and your dentist will know that it’s not real. While a dental implant might need minor adjustments every few years, they are designed to last for a lifetime. Since they are not in fact a natural tooth, they’re not affected by decay, and cavities are simply not possible. Dental implants are overtaking dentures as the preferred method of tooth replacement, and this is hardly surprising. Implants don’t slip, and don’t need to be removed each night. Dental implants are also superior to prosthetic teeth held in place by a tooth supported bridge. A bridge requires surrounding teeth to be ground down slightly to make room for the support, and this in fact can weaken these surrounding teeth. An implant is secured directly into the jawbone, and the surrounding teeth are unaffected.
How Does a Dental Implant Work?
A small metallic support tube is inserted into the jawbone. This tube is typically made of titanium, and over the course of several weeks, the titanium implant fuses with your jawbone as your gum heals around it. At this point it looks like you have a miniature metal tooth, perhaps making you look like a robot! After sufficient healing time, you’ll need to go back to your dentist for the completion of the procedure. A small abutment is attached to the rod, which then allows for the prosthetic tooth to be permanently secured to the titanium implant. The prosthetic tooth will have been crafted by the dentist during the healing process, and then your smile is as good as new – often even better than it was before.
Is a Dental Implant Expensive?
We won’t sugarcoat it – dental implants are not the cheapest option. Although of course, too much sugar has perhaps been one of the causes of your missing tooth! The cost of the implant can vary quite significantly, depending on the materials used. But consider this: A dental implant is a one off investment that, if properly cared for, will last a lifetime. You might have learned to live with you missing tooth, and have accepted it as a fact of life. It doesn’t have to be this way, and the comfort of once again having a full set of teeth is well worth the cost of the procedure. Dental tourism is a novel way of offsetting the costs of a dental implant, and many patients now opt to travel to other countries where highly qualified dentists can carry out implantation for a fraction of the cost. As an example, patients who choose dental implants in Budapest can save as much as 70% when compared to costs in the United Kingdom and other countries. There’s also the added benefit of spending a few days exploring an exotic new city, since there’s always time to see the sights.
There’s no need to suffer from the discomfort and embarrassment of missing teeth any longer, and after you’ve had your dental implant for a while you might even forget that it’s not in fact a natural tooth. Don’t be put off by the cost, since a healthy smile and the ability to chew anything you want without problems is priceless. Remember that combining your dental implant needs with a European city break is a great way to significantly keep your costs low without compromising on quality. The end result will be a smile you’ll be proud of, and it’s an innovation that would have been unthinkable back when humans were cutting up shells to replace their missing teeth…