The animal world is a fascinating place. Alligators are an excellent example of this. Scientists have learned that alligators can regrow a lost tooth up to 50 times during their lifetimes.
If only people had this same ability. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about losing our teeth as we get older or because of poor dental hygiene.
Alas, we aren’t that lucky. That means losing our teeth can affect our ability to eat the foods that we love. It can affect the nutrition we receive if we have to give up certain foods, too.
We may not be able to regrow our teeth like an alligator, but humans have developed the next best thing — dental implants. At Beaumont Family Dentistry, we offer dental implants as one of our restorative services for patients in and around Lexington.
We have seen dental implants do more than restore our patients’ smiles. We have seen implants restore their quality of life.
Your Teeth Reborn
According to scientists, alligators are able to regrow their teeth because of a big difference between their biology and ours.
Alligators have three sets of “teeth” at any time — the teeth in their mouth, a set of baby teeth hidden underneath, and stem cells that can became another set of teeth if needed. If one of the alligator’s teeth gets knocked out, then a baby tooth grows into an adult tooth. The stem cells then produce another baby tooth in case it’s needed.
The closest example humans have for this kind of regenerative ability is hair. When you cut your hair, it will regrow … OK, your uncle’s hair may not grow anymore, but you understand what we are saying.
Humans have understood for millennia how important our teeth are for our survival and perhaps more recently, for our appearance. Throughout human history, people have found all kinds of ways to replace lost teeth includes animal bones, ivory, and teeth removed from the deceased.
Today, we have dental implants to provide a foundation for our “false” teeth. Dental implants give us a level of security that was never possible before. And that is what makes them nearly as good as our real teeth.
Dental implants serve as a replacement for the roots of our teeth. Just like those roots, implants are held in place by the bones of our jaw.
When a titanium implant is placed, the bones begin to bond to it directly through a process called osseointegration. When this happens, dentists can place dental crowns, bridges, and dentures on your implants. This will give our patients a bite force that is practically the same as their real teeth.
Why Bite Force Matters
Alligators have the strongest bite force ever measured at 3,700 pounds per square inch. By comparison, humans have a bite force closer to 200 pounds per square inch.
Thankfully our diets are much easier to eat. Even so, if we lose our bite force, we may have trouble with the things we do eat.
If you wear traditional dentures, your bite force can drop to 50 pounds per square inch. If you have dentures, you already know how that loss of bite force affects your ability to eat certain foods.
You also know that it’s about more than just biting. Loss of bite force affects your ability to chew your food, too.
If you had just a quarter of your biting and chewing ability, you may have to quit eating things like steak and chicken, nuts and raw vegetables, and treats like cookies.
When you cut out some of those foods, it’s easy to see how you might struggle with getting nutrients you need from your diet.
Getting Back Your Bite
After dental implants are placed, you will need some time for your jaw to heal. As this happens your bite force will become stronger and stronger.
Some research suggests that, within two months of getting dental implants, your bite force will be 85 percent (170 pounds per square inch) of what it was with your natural teeth. With mroe time, it will get even closer to 100 percent of your original bite force.
But even if you stayed at 85 percent, there’s a big difference between the 170 pounds of pressure you’ll get with implant-supported dentures and the 50 pounds you’ll get with dentures that sit above your gums.
Time To Act
If you have lost a tooth, multiple teeth, or even a full arch of teeth, you don’t have to settle for a purely cosmetic solution. You can restore your smile and your ability to eat anything you want with confidence that your “teeth” will remain in place.
To learn more about how dental implants can help you, contact any Beaumont Family Dentistry office in Lexington or fill out our online form.
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