Illustration of a Fixed partial denture bridge

Illustration of a Fixed partial denture bridge

It wasn’t that long ago that replacing your teeth with dentures wasn’t a question of “if,” but “when.” Tooth replacement was just something that peopled assumed would happen sooner or later. It wasn’t exactly something that a person looked forward to, but it seemed fairly inevitable.

Throughout all of history, people have tried almost everything to effectively replace teeth because the health of our mouth is directly linked to our overall health. People tried everything from precious metals and ivory in ancient times to implanting teeth from other people in the middle ages.

Dentures became something of a standard option for a long time because they could replace several teeth at once and at least looked someone natural.

In recent years, though, a couple important things changed.

First, the prevalence of fluoride in our daily lives has led to the first generation in which the majority of the population will keep their natural teeth until they die. Second, back in the 70s, some research began to show how some new technologies could make dental implants a real alternative, and recent advances have made them even better.

Even Dentures Have Evolved

Traditionally, dentures meant suffering through a dental appliance that may not fit right, causing irritation in the gums and other soft tissues. They could make it difficult to speak, they limited what a person could eat, and they were difficult to clean.

Things have changed for dentures, though. New materials and technologies make them far more comfortable and usable, and they can be fitted over endodontically treated teeth or on implants to secure them in place. This ensures a good fit that doesn’t irritate the soft tissues of the mouth.

There are two types of dentures used today. Conventional dentures are fabricated after all the teeth have been extracted and the soft tissue has healed. Immediate dentures, on the other hand, are fabricated and inserted right after the teeth are extracted.

Despite these advance, dental implants are still the top choice for many people.

The Titanium Solution

The use of titanium in medical applications is what started to change things for implants. A lot of metals and other materials had been used over the years, but titanium is what really made implantation a viable option. It wasn’t just the strength-to-weight ratio that made the difference. It was a special characteristic, called osseointegration, that changed everything. In the 50s, it was discovered that titanium and bone would actually fuse together, creating a bond that was just as strong as your natural teeth.

The First Implants

While early dental implants were on the right track, they didn’t necessarily look that great. You would start with a crown that hopefully fit comparatively well, and from there it could be machined down and polished. It would fit, but wouldn’t necessarily look quite right. The metals used in the implant could even start to corrode – something that doesn’t happen with titanium.

Now, crowns are custom made in trusted labs to fit perfectly in your mouth and match the look of your teeth. The surfaces reflect light just like natural teeth, and you can care for them just like you would a regular tooth.

Choosing Implantation

Implants are a great choice in most circumstances to replace missing teeth, especially for people who have had trouble dealing with the dentures. This is also a good alternative for people who have lost a lot of bone structure after losing their teeth, because implants can be used to reach the denser areas of the jaw.

Implants are a good choice. They’re stable, strong, and effective, whether you’re replacing a single tooth or holding dentures securely in place.