As early as 166 AD, the ancient Etruscans were attempting to fix broken or missing teeth with gold crowns and fixed bridgework. In 1789, the first patent for porcelain teeth was received by Nicolas Dubois de Chemant. The history of dental prosthesis extends back as far as thousands of years across the world, with a drastic amount of improvement in the meantime. Today, thanks to advancements in education and technique, the process of replacing a tooth (or several) isn’t the ordeal it once was. Materials, too, have undergone a number of changes and are now much more sturdy and attractive. Dental implants, for example, have improved a great deal from the pieces of carved shell that people used to try to affix, and they last much longer as well.
Dental Implants Can Last for Decades, If Not a Lifetime, With Proper Care
However, this doesn’t mean that replacements or repairs won’t be necessary. Since the crown or cap of an implant wears heavily over time, you will likely need to replace that portion every 10-15 years. Similarly, poor oral health or disease can affect the longevity of dental implants. In serious cases or periodontitis or unmanaged diabetes, the loss of jaw bone mass can loosen the implants and diminish their usefulness.
Dental Implants are Made of Safe, Durable Materials
Normally, a biocompatible metal like titanium alloy is used to form the “screw” portion of the implant. This is the part that is anchored into the jaw, replacing the tooth root, to hold the cap or crown in place. The bones in the jaw attach to the implant over time, strengthening the bond and increasing stability, so that the implant can work just like a regular tooth. The crown itself can be made of metal, porcelain fused to metal, resin, or porcelain-based ceramic.
Dental Implants Can Be Maintained Like Natural Teeth
They must be brushed well and flossed to avoid plaque buildup and help keep the mouth healthy overall. Because the blood supply to the gums may be more delicate after an implant procedure, care should be taken not to floss too roughly. In normal conditions, even with attentive care, implants are still prone to the same loss of bone as other teeth in the mouth and the crowns can become discolored of fractured, which will require repair.
If you’re considering your best options for tooth replacement, dental implants are a practical and enduring product that offers beautiful, natural results. They’re made to stand up to the rigors of chewing and drinking over decades of use, and can be maintained as easily as real teeth. It’s best to consult your dentist for more detailed information. He or she can provide you with a realistic overview of your teeth and gums (the healthier the oral environment, the better your mouth and jaw will be able to accommodate the implants), what to expect, and what options you have for anesthesia and payment.