Baton Rouge Perio Logo

Why Dental Implants Are a Game-Changer in Replacing Missing Teeth

May 06, 2024
Even though we haven’t yet devised a technology that lets us regrow our own teeth, dental implants bring us pretty close. If you thought dentures or bridges were your only option for tooth replacement, you’re in for a game-changing surprise.

Although debate still rages over whether George Washington’s false teeth were made of wood, ivory, or dead people’s teeth, one thing’s for certain: They weren’t comfortable and probably didn’t look very natural, either. For centuries, dentures did little to improve on the first President’s chompers.

Way back in 600 A.D., the Mayans implanted pieces of shells in human gums to replace missing teeth. But that technology and those that followed were either lost to time, insufficient to the task, or the cause of infections.

Between the 1930s and 1950s, however, dentists and engineers experimented with individual false teeth attached to spiral or screw-like tools that could be inserted into the alveolar bone. Eventually, these crude implants grew in sophistication to become today’s dental implants — the next best thing to your real tooth. 

Here at AB Dental and Oral Surgery, Dr. Anthony Osei, offers the highest quality dental implants at our clinic in San Antonio, Texas. Dental implants are so popular that they’re projected to constitute up to 23% of tooth replacements by 2026.

Why are dental implants so popular? Here’s how and why they changed the tooth-replacement game.

Your own bone secures implants

Implants are made of three main pieces: a metal post (usually titanium or zirconium), an abutment cap, and a false tooth. The post is the portion that is surgically implanted into your jawbone, reaching as deeply into the bone as if it was a tooth root.

After your implant is inserted, your bone tissue grows around it, bonding with the implant so it’s incorporated into your jawbone. It’s as secure as a natural tooth would be, so can’t be easily dislodged.

You don’t need to “cement” your implants in place. Your own bone does the “cementing” in a more secure and permanent manner than any adhesive could.

Each implant looks like a real tooth

Unlike dentures or dental bridges, which contain a span of three or more false teeth, a dental implant is individually crafted. When it’s seated in your mouth, it’s indistinguishable from any other single tooth.

Although the implant and abutment cap are made of metal, the crown (i.e., the “false tooth” that shows above your gums) is made of porcelain, ceramic, or porcelain fused to metal. We carefully match the shape, size, and color of this false tooth to your surrounding natural teeth.

If you need all of your teeth extracted and replaced, we still take care in how we craft your implants. We choose a shade of white and tooth shapes and sizes that complement your natural coloring and jaw shape.

Implants act like real teeth, too

Even more important than the unbeatable aesthetic advantages of implants is their functional advantage. Dental bridges and dentures sit on top of your gums. When you bite and chew, the stress is distributed through the top of your gums, but doesn’t reach down to the jawbone.

In contrast, the stress that’s exerted on the biting and chewing surfaces of implants is transmitted down through the metal “root” into your jawbone. This is of paramount importance because the consistent stress encourages your jaw to produce new bone cells. 

Implants stimulate bone growth, which keeps your jawbone strong and healthy. You may notice that people who’ve lost teeth or wear dentures eventually have a shorter lower face due to bone atrophy.

You care for implants like real teeth

Implants don’t need special solutions or special care. In fact, you treat them just as you would your natural teeth.

You can brush implants with a regular toothbrush and toothpaste. You can floss between them with regular dental floss. They have the added bonus of being stain resistant, so you don’t have to worry about eating blueberries or drinking coffee..

Of course, you must also care for your implants as you would your natural teeth. Don’t bite or chew nonfood items. Brush and floss twice a day. Get your dental cleanings at least twice a year.

Are you ready to change your game with dental implants? Call us at 210-682-2700 for a consultation and evaluation, or schedule an appointment with our online form