Christmas will be here in just a few weeks, and one of our favorite parts of the holiday season is the food.
Turkey and baked ham, grandma’s special mashed potatoes, mom’s macaroni and cheese, casseroles of all kinds, sweet potatoes, and the desserts … we can smell them already.
We don’t want to sound like the Grinch, but you may have to avoid some of these delicious treats if you are missing teeth or you wear certain kinds of dentures.
Thankfully, dental implants can restore your ability to eat whatever you would like.
At Beaumont Family Dentistry in Lexington, we want you to enjoy the holidays for years to come. That’s one reason we offer dental implants. Just keep reading to learn how they work.
Short history of dental implants
People have been replacing missing teeth for thousands of years.
Ivory, animal bones, and teeth removed from the dead have been used to replace missing teeth at different points in human history, according to information originally published in The Open Dentistry Journal. In many cases, these replacement teeth were attached to the owner’s remaining healthy teeth for support.
With time, new developments involved replacing the root (the part that anchors the tooth to your jawbone) instead of just replacing the crowns (the visible parts of your teeth).
In 1913, Dr. E.J. Greenfield attached a gold crown to a platinum cylinder that was placed where his patient once had a tooth.
The Stock brothers took this a step further in the 1930s, when they created a screw made of an alloy of chromium and cobalt. They were inspired by hip implants that had be designed for dogs and humans.
Dr. P. Brånemark made the biggest discovery that improved dental implants somewhat by accident. Brånemark had placed a titanium chamber in a rabbit femur to study blood flow. When he went to remove the chamber, he found that he couldn’t.
Through a process called osseointegration, the rabbit’s bone had attached directly to the titanium, and the cylinder was held firmly in place.
That discovery lead to the development of the titanium dental implants that we use today in our practice to replace missing teeth for our patients.
How dental implants work
We already mentioned that dental implants are replacements for your natural teeth. Specifically, dental implants are used to replace the roots of your lost teeth or teeth that have been removed.
To explain how your dental implants will work, we need to explain the placement process.
The first thing we need to determine is whether you have the bone density to support an implant. Throughout the day as you use your teeth, they press into the bones that support them. This spurs new growth that keeps your jawbone healthy and keeps your teeth more secure.
When you have a missing tooth or teeth, the jawbone in that part of your mouth is not getting the same stimulation. As a result, you can lose bone mass rather quickly.
If you have lost too much, then you may need a bone graft to provide the support your dental implants will need.
Once we determine that you have the bone density to support a dental implant, we will place it into your jawbone. Your jaw will need time to heal after this procedure.
This is when osseointegration will take place, and your bone will attach to your implant just like it does with your natural teeth.
You can receive one implant or multiple implants depending on your needs. Each dental implant has an abutment on the exposed end.
We can place a dental crown (for a single tooth), a dental bridge (for multiple teeth), or implant-secured dentures onto your implants. From a purely cosmetic standpoint, these will give you the appearance of a complete, natural set of teeth.
But maybe more important for anyone who loves the holiday foods we described above (plus any number of foods that we eat throughout the year), dental implants will restore your bite force.
This means you can eat anything and everything that you could when you had all your teeth. We love granny’s mashed potatoes, but we want to be able to enjoy the turkey and ham and the Christmas cookies and candies, too. (But not too many. After all, we don’t want you to get cavities in the real teeth you have left.)
Enjoy eating again
If you are planning to have teeth removed, talk to us before your procedure about teeth replacement options. If you already have dentures held in place with an adhesive, now might be a good time to discuss switching to something more secure.
Dental implants are a great way to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth, and they allow you to keep enjoying the food that you love.
Contact Beaumont Family Dentistry today if you live in or near Lexington. We would be glad to talk with you about dental implants. Call any of our three locations or use our online form to make an appointment.
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