Dental Implants: 3 Things You Might Not Have Known
Dental implants are the longest-lasting, most popular and most written about tooth replacement option. Our office has published material on our website discussing the benefits and advantages to dental implants, and the technologies that allow us to give you the best options and greatest peace of mind.
Whether on our site or elsewhere, you’ve probably read about what implants are made of. You probably know at least a little about how they’re surgically placed. But, maybe you didn’t know the following facts about dental implants—read on to see what you might learn.
- Equal to the populations of Iowa, New York, and California
The number of Americans with dental implants is growing every year, as well as the number of options a patient has when getting them surgically placed. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), more than 3 million Americans have dental implants, a number that’s growing by 500,000 every year. Right now, the number is equal to the whole population of Iowa—and at that rate of growth, it could double by 2022.
If you’ve read anything about dental implants, you’ll now that there are other solutions people look at for replacing teeth, too. According to the AAID, a total of 15 million Americans have bridge and crown replacements for missing teeth. This is nearing the size of New York state, and growing fast.
The AAID also reports that more than 35 Americans are missing all their teeth on one or both of their jaws. This is nearing the size of the state of California.
- Today’s implants are made of three parts, and can be placed in one or two surgeries
Dental implants are currently made of three parts—the implant itself is actually the metal post placed in the cavity of the natural tooth. This is then left to heal for at least eight weeks, if not three to four months. The healing process includes the implant naturally binding to your jawbone (see the next item for more on this point).
After healing is complete, the implant is surgically re-accessed to place an abutment over it, which gives the false tooth something to sit on. The crown is then glued onto the abutment, and your implant placement is complete.
Dental implants can now be placed with one surgery, too. You’ll still need to let the implant heal and fuse to the bone after placement, but Drs. Nail and Dombrowski also offer a state-of-the-art option where, for some patients, the second visit for the crown doesn’t need to be a second surgery. New technologies have made this possible, and eligibility is case-to-case. Talk to your surgeon to learn more.
- Dental implants actually bind to your bone—and the discovery of this phenomenon was an accident
As the story goes, Swedish surgeon P. Branemark was studying bone healing and regeneration on rabbits in the 1950s, when he discovered that the titanium posts he had surgically placed in the rabbits had fused to their bone. He couldn’t remove them. It wasn’t long after this discovery that he saw the application for dental implants, and the trajectory to modern implants began.
Today’s implants are primarily made of titanium, as the metal has proven to be the best in “osseointegration,” or fusing to the bone around it. This is precisely the process that your jaw undergoes after the initial surgical placement of an implant post.
If you’re in need of an implant or might be soon, it’s likely you have other questions and curiosities about the surgery or the implants themselves. We’re here to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!