Uptown Comprehensive Dentistry and Prosthodontics

Dental Implants for Tooth Replacement: Then and Now

July 8, 2021
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Posted By: Uptown Comprehensive Dentistry and Prosthodontics

While the designs and types of materials used have varied depending on the civilization and time period, people have used dental implants to replace missing teeth since ancient times, improving their bite's functionality and oral health. 

At Uptown Comprehensive Dentistry and Prosthodontics, we're proud to continue the tradition of placing dental implants with all the added benefits that modern dentistry has provided. 

The modern dental implant builds on generations of knowledge while incorporating new and advanced technologies and techniques, offering patients the best of both worlds. 

The History of Dental Implants

The beginnings of complex dental work emerged in ancient Egypt in about 2,500 B.C. when the ancient Egyptians used gold ligature wire to stabilize periodontally involved teeth, which means they tried to stabilize teeth loosened by gum issues, such as gum disease. In 500 B.C., we have records of the Phoenicians attempting a similar experiment with gold wire.

And while the Phoenicians were stabilizing teeth with wire, the Etruscans began restoring human teeth with oxen bones, another sign of advancing dental care.

Eventually, around 300 A.D., the Phoenicians began carving artificial teeth out of ivory to act as tooth replacements. They stabilized the ivory teeth with the same gold wire they'd used for stabilizing teeth previously, effectively creating what we would now call a fixed bridge. In present times, we typically make fixed bridges with porcelain dental crowns, which we attach to a metal framework.

Finally, in 600 A.D., the Mayan population built the first basic dental implants, using shells to replace mandibular teeth. The Mayans' dental implants acted similarly to modern implants and produced similar bone growth, which is genuinely fascinating. 

Since that time, dental implants have improved drastically, of course. Still, it's astonishing to think about the many iterations of dental implants handed down to us over the years and how they've helped us reach our current dental technology. 

How Do Dental Implants Work as a Tooth Replacement?

Dental implants are unique and offer patients benefits that other tooth replacements can't provide, like better bone health in the jaw. This is noticeable even in the early Mayan versions of dental implants, where they used just simple shells.

In modern dentistry, we generally make dental implants using titanium, which is a biocompatible material. A biocompatible material is compatible with the tissues in your body, and your bone will actually fuse to the biocompatible titanium implant. This process is called osseointegration.

This process makes dental implants unique, and it's what gives the patient the added bone health we mentioned above. The unification of the dental implant and the jawbone encourages the stimulation necessary to promote healthy bone growth. That stimulation, which the tooth root would usually provide, prevents the jawbone from atrophying, which is always possible when a patient suffers from tooth loss. 

What Other Benefits Do Dental Implants Provide?

In addition to helping the patient achieve better bone health, the dental implant and its attached prosthetic, such as a dental crown, bridge, or dentures, will replace the gaps in the patient's smile. Filling the gaps between remaining teeth prevents those teeth from moving, which will begin to happen if missing teeth aren't replaced. The tooth replacement stabilizes the patient's bite to keep it properly aligned.

An implant also offers:

  • A durable, long-term solution to tooth loss
  • Improved biting power over tooth replacement options due to incredible stability
  • A natural look and comfortable feel

Who's a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

When you visit a dentist for a dental implant consultation, the dentist will thoroughly evaluate your dental situation, including the health of your gums and remaining teeth, your bite, and your jawbone health and density.

Sometimes, a patient does not have the proper bone mass to support a dental implant, which requires a strong jawbone. However, in those cases, the dentist can sometimes perform a bone grafting procedure to add mass to the bone before placing the implant.

The dentist may also recommend mini-implants instead, which are smaller and require less bone mass but still provide many benefits of traditional dental implants. 

The Cost of Dental Implants

Many dentists consider dental implants as the gold standard of tooth replacements. Due to their high-quality, long-lasting design and other benefits, they often come at a higher price than other tooth replacement options.

However, your dentist may have payment options available to help you cover the cost. For example, at Uptown Comprehensive Dentistry and Prosthodontics, we're in-network with several insurance companies, offer a variety of payment options, and work with eligible patients to set up third-party financing through CareCredit or Lending Club.

Dental Implants in Aurora

If you need to replace missing teeth in Aurora, Dr. John Chen and the rest of our skilled team can help. We enjoy assisting patients in completing their smiles to create a better overall appearance while improving their oral health. In addition, we can help you make your treatment as affordable as possible.

Reach out today to schedule your consultation. 

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