Are you somebody who’s hesitant to get affordable dental implants because you’re not sure if dental implants are reliable? Say no more, you’re about to learn how advancements in medical technology are making dental implants the strongest, most reliable and longest lasting fix for people with missing teeth or gaps in their smile. Before we can get into any specifics, it’s important to know what dental implants are and the procedure involved.
What are dental implants?
It’s important to know what a dental implant is, and how it differs from other dental procedures like denaturing. A dental implant is a surgical procedure that involves drilling a titanium post into the sockets of the jawbone where the missing teeth once were. The titanium post is crowned with one or several ceramic teeth that look and feel just like real teeth. The titanium post is essentially the root of the ceramic teeth, and the jawbone will fuse with them to hold them in place for life. It’s an incredible achievement in dental technology and the best part is, you don’t have to take them out every night before bed like dentures. The procedure seems daunting, but depending on the health of your jawbone, oral tissue and the specific type of implant, it is a quick procedure.
So what kind of technology improvements?
Well, titanium has been used in dentistry since the 1940s and it continues to be improved, it’s a biocompatible metal which means it binds to organic tissue and bone. It’s known for its resistance to corrosion from bodily fluids, it’s biointertness, capacity for osseointegration, and a high fatigue limit. These characteristics have been strengthened by adding materials to the surfaces of the titanium, which inhibit osseointegration. The surface modification includes the following: sandblasted and acid etched, titanium plasma sprayed, anodized, oxidized, and hydroxyapatite. Dental implants have also been improved with the assistance of computer-aided design and manufacturing, and also 3D printing. Other improvements include tilted implants that better fit to a patient’s jawbone, better grafting materials, and some other alternative techniques like shorter implants.
Tons of studies have been done that have helped speed up the healing times of the implants. Research in the materials and techniques used to complete the surgery have reduced healing times, which are anywhere between 3-6 months. Shorter implants are also now being used to decrease patient discomfort, healing times, as well as lower procedure costs and shorter surgery time. Improvements have been made in sinus lifting, which is an augmentation of the sinus and a bone grafting to successfully insert dental implants into the upper jaw while avoiding complications of sinuses. Tilted implants, which are angled titanium posts, are now being used to avoid sinus augmentation altogether.
3D printing has been a technology phenomenon in the past few years. 3D printers used to be huge machines that took a painstaking amount of time to print even the simplest materials, but 3D printing has now evolved to become not just a household item, but also capable of printing biological material, like skin tissue. Thanks to advancements in 3D printing technology along with computer-aided design (CAD), it has developed a widespread use in modern dentistry. Prosthodontists, the professionals responsible for designing the teeth, are now able to custom make crowns and bridges that are completely unique to each patient, and the design process is incredibly quick thanks to 3D printing. 3D printing had already been in use for prototyping the materials to use in such dental procedures, but thanks to the rapid developments in 3D printing technology, it’s being used for the actual production models that are implanted in the jaw. The 3D printers are able to print not only the ceramics used in crowns and bridges but the titanium posts as well. 3D printing has also created innovative surgical guides made of tough plastics for placing the implants, which greatly minimizes human error. Experiments on monkeys has also been done on the possibility of using CAD and 3D printing to create a custom titanium post that more organically resembles the missing root rather than a threaded, straight or tapered design. The fusing of bone to titanium had proven to be quickened, which ultimately lowers healing times. For example, say a patient needs a dead tooth to be replaced. Before even removing the tooth, dental professionals can scan the tooth and create a 3D image of it in a computer. They can then 3D print a dental implant resembling that tooth and it’s root and has it ready for replacement, which eliminates the need for a second surgery altogether.
So why are these improvements important?
Such advancements in the technology of the materials, techniques, and designs have increased the success rate of dental implants dramatically, so much so that dental professionals are recommending them over other more temporary solutions to your missing teeth. Also, these advancements don’t just make dental implant procedures easier for surgeons, it’s easier on you, the patient! Imagine being told that after your surgery, you’ll experience minimal discomfort for a short while, and you’ll only have to wait a couple months for healing. Then you can use your permanent, new teeth for the rest of your life! Compare this to the awkward, discomfort of wearing dentures for the rest of your life. The advancements in dental implant technology have made dental implants such a great choice for people that denture use is on the decline. In a scientific journal, a study showed declined denture use has been on a downward trend since the 1980s, which is when dental implants were first becoming a widespread practice.
Where do I find the most advanced dental implants?
Finding dental implants that put to use the latest technology in dental implant procedures is of utmost importance. You have to know where to look. Start online and look in your area. Find maxillofacial surgeons that boast state of the art equipment and professionals. They will employ the latest in dental implant technology that will make your surgery quick and relatively painless.