Add A Little Titanium...
As a kid, most of my favorite pursuits had to do with building things. On rainy days, we’d break out the Legos or Tinker-Toys or, my personal favorite, the Erector set. If Mom didn’t want us making a mess, we’d stack pillows and blankets amongst chairs or tables to make indoor bases and forts. On many occasions, we’d get in trouble when Dad couldn’t find some tool because we’d snuck it out of the house on some building adventure. To this day, there’s quite a stash of Dad’s stuff in our secret fort in the woods.
One might have thought I’d become a builder or an architect or engineer or such. On some level, I did. Every day, dentists build teeth and engineer bites and design smiles. CAD/CAM technology is used in dentistry now and evolving by leaps and bounds. Add in the wide world of dental implants, and we have all sorts of cool tools and pieces and parts we get to play with.
One of the greatest modern services that most dentists offer is dental implants. Similar to other medical implants, dental implants are made of a titanium alloy compatible with the cells of your body. Most modern implants resemble a very short screw that is gently placed into healthy jaw bone where a tooth once lived. The process sounds painful. It is not. The bone that holds your teeth in place has no nerves, so placing an implant is always far less traumatic than having the original tooth out in the first place. Rarely do patients even take post-implant pain medication.
Titanium tooth root replacements (dental implants) can be used in a variety of ways. The most common use is what we call single tooth replacement. Put in an implant and put a tooth on it. Sometimes, we can actually remove a tooth, place an implant, and put on a temporary tooth all in one visit. Temporary implants can be used in conjunction with braces to move stubborn teeth. Multiple implants can be “connected” as a bridge to replace a segment of missing teeth. In healthy bone, as few as four titanium roots can support a jaw full of teeth. As a matter of fact, we can replace all of your missing teeth with as few as eight to ten dental implants. It takes a lot of planning, but the results are amazing and life changing.
My favorite use of dental implants has to do with ill fitting partials and dentures. Most people who have removable replacement teeth cannot stand the way they move around or fall down or shift. I’ve heard many an embarrassing story of teeth popping out at the wrong time. We can improve this problem by using implants to snap things into place. Sometimes it’s even possible to retrofit your current plate to newly placed implants. Of all the fancy things we do to help people, the most basic; allowing them to eat what they like, is sometimes the most rewarding.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Questions or comments can be sent to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.