What are these dental implants I've been hearing about? Implants are, simply stated, near-perfect titanium replacements for the roots of teeth. The ability of titanium and titanium alloys to fuse to bone was accidentally discovered, sort of like penicillin was. This phenomenon, termed 'osseointegration,' was first recognized by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon researching rabbits, in 1952. Fortunately for dental patients, this led to the development and evolution of many different applications for the maxillo-facial region. Titanium plates are used to stabilize fractured jaws, for example. Titanium is highly compatible with the human body, so it is not rejected when it is inserted into bone like steel or wood would be.
Implants have emerged as the very best tooth replacement available today. Where there is sufficient quality and quantity of bone where the root of a tooth used to be, a dental implant can be surgically placed, and begin integrating. Depending on the goal of treatment, different items are fixed or engaged on the head of the implant. Most often this is a crown with an abutment (connecting structure). However, the most life-changing super-power of dental implants, including "mini" implants, is the ability to hold a complete or partial denture, or a fixed bridge, in place. These are incredible advancements, as anyone who has suffered with the annoyance and frankly, disability, of dentures. Some people function quite well with traditional dentures, but even they may run into problems later on as the bony support dissolves. The versatility of implants makes them an increasingly common topic of conversation in the dental office. If you are wondering whether dental implants are something that might benefit you, give Littleton Dental Care a call today! (603) 444-7761