If not for research involving blood circulation in rabbits, we may not have one of the best options for teeth replacement ever developed.
We will share more of that story in a moment, but for now, just know that you can get dental implants at our dentist office in Panama City, FL. If you are missing all your teeth, a few teeth, or just one single tooth, dental implants can give you stronger teeth replacements that can last a lifetime.
To learn more, call Panama City Smiles at 850-588-0185 to schedule a consultation. Find out what a difference dental implants could make for you.
How Rabbit Research Led To Better Teeth Replacements
Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark was a Swedish physician who taught anatomy. As part of his career, he also conducted research experiments. In the 1950s, he was studying blood circulation using rabbits as his test subjects.
He had placed a titanium cylinder in the legs of the rabbits with the intention of removing and reusing those cylinders as needed.
That’s not what happened, however.
When Dr. Brånemark wanted to remove the cylinders, he found something unexpected. The rabbits’ leg bones had bonded directly to the cylinders. He even coined a term for this phenomenon — osseointegration.
To be honest, we don’t know what happened with Dr. Brånemark’s blood circulation research. We do know that he put his new discovery to good use. What he learned led to a breakthrough in restorative dentistry.
In 1965, he placed the first modern dental implants in a human patient. That patient lived the remainder of his live — 40 years — with his permanent replacement teeth.
Other people have continued to improve on the design of dental implants since then, and it has changed what is possible in restorative dental care.
How We Use Dental Implants Today
To be clear, dental implants only replace part of your tooth — the roots. Before titanium implants, most teeth replacements were just for the crowns, which are the visible parts of the teeth.
That also meant those teeth replacements could be less stable or could put added stress on the healthy teeth that people still had. Below, we will discuss how implants changed what we are able to do for our patients.
▶ Single Tooth Replacements
The old way of replacing a missing tooth started with removing part of two other teeth. Before dental implants, dental bridges were the best option for filling that gap in your smile.
The bridge would be bonded to the adjacent teeth to provide support and hold it in place. Dental bridges are made by fusing multiple dental crowns together. The crown in the middle replaced the missing tooth in your smile.
With modern dental implants, you can leave your healthy teeth intact. The implant is placed into your jawbone where your root used to be. When you are ready, a dental crown will be attached to the implant. This gives you a natural-looking tooth replacement that feels and functions as well as a real tooth.
▶ Multiple Teeth Replacements
Losing multiple teeth compounds the problems mentioned above. If you are missing multiple teeth, a traditional bridge would need to be bigger to fill the gap. In some cases, it might even require removing part of more than two teeth to provide enough support for the bridge to stay in place.
Another option would be to get a partial denture. These are typically held in place by hooks that connect the dentures to healthy teeth. This can add stress and increase wear and tear on those teeth over time.
Or, you could get multiple dental implants placed in your jaw to both support and secure your dental bridge instead. Again, this restores the function and the appearance of your lost teeth.
▶ Complete Arch Replacements
This may be where dental implants’ benefits are the most obvious.
With full dentures, you don’t have any teeth left to attach them to. That means the dentures float over your gums. While they are designed to fit each wearer’s mouth, it’s pretty common for dentures to come loose. This happens when people are speaking and when people are eating. It can limit the kinds of foods that people eat, too.
By getting a series of dental implants, however, you can keep your dentures secure and stable. This allows them to function practically as well as a set of healthy teeth — and that means you can keep eating whatever you want to eat.