Let’s face it, life before dental implants was pretty limited for a patient with missing teeth. The only replacement solutions that dentists could provide were bridges and dentures. Since the dental implant burst onto the scene, however, it has rightfully retained its position as the ‘gold standard’ of missing teeth replacement. To celebrate this impressive achievement, here are 7 amazing facts about dental implants that you can learn, wheel out at parties, and, use to surprise your family and friends.
Dental Implants are NASA strong
Did you know that a dental implant is made from the same material that Nasa used on their space shuttle engine? Titanium!
At the time it was the world’s most sophisticated engine and was built to withstand temperatures of over 3,000 degrees Celsius – hotter than the boiling point of iron! Titanium is also the material of choice for Formula 1 racing cars and guided missiles. So implants and the technology behind them are in some esteemed company. As such and understandably, this is often reflected in the dental implants cost.
Modern dental implants were discovered by accident
It’s true – and not by a dentist, but an orthopaedic surgeon!
Back in 1952 a surgeon named per-Invar Branemark was investigating the properties of bone healing and regeneration and placed a series of titanium splints onto the femur bones of rabbits.
When the time came to remove them to check the healing process, he found that the bone tissue had fused with the splint.
Coining the technique ‘osseointegration’, Branemark hypothesised that this fusion procedure could be used in other fields such as dental implant surgery.
By 1965, he had placed the first dental implant into a human patient and the rest, as they say, is history!
The first implants lasted forty years
We’ve already mentioned that the first dental implants were placed by Branemark into a willing patient back in 1965.
They were still intact and fully functioning right up until the patient’s death in 2006. Chances are that the patient’s implant-restorations would have continued for many more years.
But unfortunately, we’ll never know.
As a rough guide, however, we tell our patients that if cared for correctly, permanent implant restorations can last for several decades or more.
Age is no barrier to dental implants
While the dental implants cost may put some people off, age is certainly no barrier. According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest person to receive dental implants was 100 years and 210 days old when she had four missing teeth replaced with dental implants at a Palm Harbor dental clinic in Florida back in 2012.
Ancient dental implants were made from seashells and stones
Some of the earliest attempts at tooth replacement were carried out as far back as 600 AD by the ancient Mayans. Back in 1931, archaeologists discovered Mayan skulls in which teeth had been replaced with skilfully carved seashells and stones which were then hammered into position. Thankfully, technology has moved on somewhat and that’s not how dental implants are done nowadays.
Dental implants halt bone loss through clever trickery
An unfortunate side effect of missing teeth is bone loss. Once a tooth is lost, the bone needed to support the tooth root is no longer needed. In a process known as resorption, the body will reabsorb all of the important minerals from the tissue and redistribute them someplace else. So when a titanium implant is anchored down into the jaw bone during surgery, the bone tissue thinks that it is, in fact, a tooth root.
Because of some pretty clever trickery, the bone tissue gets to work fusing with (and supporting) the new ‘tooth root.’ This means that any remaining bone tissue is no longer absorbed by the body. Hey presto, no more jaw shrinkage!
Dental implants are in fact the only restoration that can halt the bone loss process permanently and jaw deterioration remains the reason why conventional dentures (which sit on the gum line) need continual adjustment and regular replacement.
You’re not alone if you need dental implants
Information recently introduced by the Australian Dental Association, states that over 3 million Australians are missing as many as a third of their teeth and over 2 million avoid visiting the dentist at all, due to high prices.
Thankfully, when it comes to dental implants cost, most dentists offer payment plans allowing you to spread payments over a period of weeks or months so you can get the treatment you need.
So there you have it, 7 interesting facts about dental implants that you can amaze your friends and family with 😊
If you are considering undergoing dental implants or would like to find out more about how dental implants are done, then contact our highly experienced team at Dental 266. We have the skill to be able to restore your missing teeth permanently using the very latest and lifelike, implant-based restorations. Call us on 02 9051 0600 and take the first steps towards a great-looking smile that you can be proud of.