Alligators have some of the most remarkable teeth in the animal kingdom, and Louisiana has the high alligator population in the United States.
Why is a dental blog discussing alligators? Because of teeth.
Alligators can regrow their teeth throughout their lives. Dentists are studying this ability in hopes that someday it might lead to a breakthrough for humans.
Until then, the Bayou Dental Group has another option to replace missing teeth — dental implants.
If you have missing teeth and would like to know more about implants, keep reading. Then come to our dentist office in Monroe, LA, to find out how we can help you.
How Dental Implants Were Developed (Rabbits Helped)
This depends how far you want to go back in human history. We could start thousands of years ago when people used bamboo to fill in for lost teeth.
We could talk about how people used to use animal teeth and bones. We could talk about teeth being removed from the dead, and we could discuss ivory as a tooth substitute.
Instead, we’ll go back to 1952, when Dr. P. Brånemark was studying blood flow in rabbit femurs.
According to this history of dental implants, Brånemark inserted titanium chambers into rabbit bones as part of his research. When he tried to remove the chambers, he couldn’t. They were stuck.
The bone had grown around the titanium and bonded to it through a process called osseointegration.
Brånemark used what he’d learned to develop the first titanium implants, which he placed in a patient in 1965. Since then, researchers have continued to use titanium as they have develop newer and better dental implants.
Today’s Tooth Replacements Options
Ideally, you will have all of your teeth for the rest of your life. Since we don’t live in an ideal world, there is a good change you or someone you know has or will have missing teeth.
The need for tooth replacements remains high, and it could be growing. In the United States, 178 million people are missing at least one tooth, according to the American College of Prosthodontists.
Of that group, 23 million people are missing all of their natural teeth, and 12 million are missing one arch of teeth.
Most people (90 percent) who are missing complete arches get dentures.
Dental implants are a better option for a number of reasons. We’ve listed some of the biggest ones here:
- Dental implants are more secure than dentures alone.
Most dentures rest on top of your gums. You may use an adhesive to hold them in place, but that’s only marginally better. Biting into certain foods (think corn on the cob) and even speaking can cause your dentures to come loose.
If you placed those dentures on dental implants, however, you could be confident that everything would stay in place. And you could eat anything that you wanted because …
- Dental implants improve your bite force.
Humans have a bite force with 200 to 250 pounds of pressure when they have all their teeth. A person with adhesive-secured dentures has a bite force up to 50 pounds.
Try to imagine chewing a piece of steak or biting into an apple with one-fourth of your normal bite force.
With dental implants you can regain 85 percent of your bite force (170 pounds) within a few months. With more time, your bite force can even get back to 100 percent what you had with your natural teeth.
- Dental implants are good for your bones.
Remember what we said about osseointegration? Well, that happens in your jaw bone as well. Dental implants encourage new bone growth, which keeps your jaw stronger. That’s also good for any healthy teeth that may be near your implants.
Bone loss occurs naturally when you lose your teeth. If you lose too much bone, then it may not be possible to place dental implants without a bone graft. This is basically transplanting bone from one part of your mouth to another part.
There is another option, however. If you don’t have enough bone for standard implants, you might be able to support mini-implants instead. These are narrower than traditional implants.
Better Bite With Implants
Dental implants are a great option whether you need to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or a complete arch of these. We can place a dental crown, dental bridge, or implant-supported dentures on your implants to give you back the look and the function of a full set of healthy teeth.