You’ve lost something, but you aren’t sure how to get it back.
You don’t just want to fill the empty space. You also want to restore the function of your missing teeth.
If you live in Southwest Florida, you can have back more than your smile. You can bite and chew as well as someone with a complete set of healthy teeth, too! To do this, you should visit one of our dental offices in Fort Myers or Naples, FL, where you can ask how you can get dental implants.
Whether you need to replace a single tooth or you need full-mouth reconstruction, you deserve to have teeth you can trust to stay in your mouth whether you are speaking, singing, or eating. At either office of George A. Hoop, DDS, our team can help you regain that confidence once again.
To get started with a consultation, call us at 239-734-7737 today to make an appointment.
A (very) Brief History of Dental Implants
August is Dental Implant Month, which makes this a good time to take a moment to discuss how modern dental implants came to be. The most common implants used today are known as root-form implants, which mimic the general shape of the roots of teeth.
But they might not exist if not for an accidental discovery involving rabbits.
In the 1950s, Swedish physician and anatomy professor Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark was researching blood circulation. As part of that process, his intention was to place titanium cylinders in the legs of rabbits. He figured he would be able to remove and reuse the cylinders as needed.
Instead, the rabbits’ bones bonded directly with the titanium, making the cylinders difficult to remove. Dr. Brånemark found human volunteers who agreed to have cylinders placed in their upper arm bones. After those tests, he saw an opportunity.
Working with a team of professionals, Dr. Brånemark is credited with designing modern dental implants. In 1965, he placed the first set of implants in a human patient, Gosta Larsson, who had never had teeth in his lower jaw. Larsson had those implants for the rest of his life, which last more than 40 more years.
It took some time to convince the medical and dental community that his invention would work, but in time, it changed what was considered possible in restorative dentistry.
What Implants Do
In dentistry, implants are used to replace the roots of missing teeth. We’ve had ways of replacing the crowns (the part of the teeth that are visible) for a long time. The problem was that you faced a high likelihood of bone loss in your jaw.
Your roots do more than just anchor your teeth in your mouth. They also help your jaw stay healthy and strong. When you ate, your roots pressed into your jawbone. In response, your jaw would create new bone tissue. This is necessary since old tissue is absorbed back into the body in a process called resorption. Without new tissue to replace it, your jaw will shrink.
A shrinking jaw can affect you in a few ways. First, you will be more likely to lose more teeth. Second, it can allow your cheeks to sink in on themselves. This can lead to wrinkles that leave you looking older than you are.
Last but not least, the shape of your mouth changes as your jaw gets smaller. This is why traditional dentures are harder to keep in your mouth over time.
By getting implants, you have a new way to stimulate your jaw. Implants also hold your replacement teeth securely in place. You can eat foods that you love and have a natural-looking smile as well.
Who Can Benefit From Implants?
The short answer is anyone who is missing any number of teeth.
Let’s assume you are missing one tooth. That may not seem like a big deal, but if you don’t replace it, that single lost tooth can have a domino effect on your smile.
As you lose bone in the one area of your jaw without a root, nearby teeth may begin to drift into the empty space. When you have a full mouth, your teeth provide mutual support for one another, which generally keeps them in the same positions.
The combination of drifting teeth and bone loss can lead to more lost teeth, which only makes the problems mentioned above even worse.
By getting an implant and a dental crown, you can have a complete tooth replacement from root to crown. This fills the gap in your smile, and it replaces the support of the missing tooth.
If you need to replace multiple teeth, a few implants can be used to secure a dental bridge (which is made by bonding dental crowns together).
Enjoy Eating Again
We have noted above that you can continue eating the foods that you love when you have implants. This is true even for people with implant-supported dentures.
For someone with traditional dentures, this might seem like a dream come true. People with traditional dentures learn pretty quickly that many foods are much more difficult to eat. When your “teeth” slide around in your mouth, it’s harder to generate the power needed to bite into certain foods or to comfortably chew other foods.
In fact, studies have shown that people with dentures only have about 20 percent of the biting force of someone with natural teeth.
In contrast, people with implant-supported dentures can restore 90 percent or more of their original biting power. You might be surprised how that can change your outlook on everyday situations. When a friend invites you to lunch or dinner at a new restaurant, you can feel confident that you will be able to eat whatever you decide to order.
Are Implants Right for You?
The best way to find out is to talk to someone who can evaluate your situation and answer your questions about implant placement. Dr. Hoop has offices in Fort Myers and Naples, FL. Call 239-734-7737 or contact us online today if you would like to schedule a visit to either location.