So, You Think You Want to Get a Dental Implant?

by Dr. Wayne Saunders

Have you or a loved one ever needed to have a tooth extracted? If so, did you ever consider what you would do to refill the space where your tooth once was? For years, people believed the only way to replace teeth was with dentures once all your teeth fell out. What was someone to do if they had a single tooth come out? And what was someone to do if they found dentures to be uncomfortable? One of the most effective ways of restoring your smile is by obtaining dental implants.

What Are Implants?

A dental implant, in its simplest terms, is a permanent prosthetic replacement for missing teeth. In the year 2022, more and more people are looking into dental implants as an option with their dental providers. The introduction of dental implants to replace missing teeth is a practice that has completely revolutionized the field of dentistry, especially for patients who may not feel comfortable with dentures, bridges, or any other dental replacement.

What Kinds of Implants Exist?

Endosteal implants are usually made of medical-grade titanium or ceramic and are used to replace missing teeth. In this type of implant, the tooth’s root portion is replaced by a screw or cylinder. The implant is surgically placed into the jawbone, which helps to hold the artificial tooth in place.

All-on-Four is a unique type of procedure that utilizes implants to help with the replacement of the entire top and bottom rows of teeth. Four or five implants are placed in the mouth to support the full replacement of all your teeth.

There are also sub-categorical treatments that fall under the realm of dental implants, which include: bone augmentation, sinus lifts, and ridge expansion which oftentimes are done in preparation for future implants.

Origins of Dental Implants

Talking about these types of procedures really makes someone wonder how people from years ago were able to find some relief, seeing as they didn’t have this type of modern technology. Interestingly enough, people found their own ways with what they had at their disposal at the time. Some of the earliest successes with modern dental implant technology date back to the late 1960s. During this time, however, implants were not Osseointegrated as they are in today’s practices; instead, they were surrounded by soft tissue.

While modern-day implant technology is a newer practice, the practice of replacing teeth has been around for decades. In fact, there have been archaeological discoveries made in various ancient civilizations of replacing teeth. Some ancient Egyptian mummies were actually found to have had human teeth transplanted, and some of them had teeth made from ivory. In Ancient China, some remains have been found to have had carved bamboo pegs tapped into the bone, serving as a way of replacing whatever teeth may have been in that area. The remains of a young Mayan woman were found to have had her incisors replaced with pieces of seashells shaped to resemble her original teeth. It’s fascinating to think how far civilization has advanced in surgical and restorative methods with dental work.

Benefits of Dental Implants

One of the most notable benefits of dental implants is their ability to get patients back to feeling confident about their smiles. Oftentimes patients who struggle with dental problems suffer from low self-esteem and are looking for a way to help themselves. Dental implants are an excellent solution for them. In fact, with proper care, a dental implant can last a lifetime.

Aside from aesthetics, there are also medical benefits to getting a dental implant. Dental implants can help prevent bone loss in both the upper and lower jaw. The presence of an implant can help to add structure and save adjacent teeth.

Implants are easy to maintain, only requiring brushing and flossing the area. No extensive cleaning care products are needed that may be required if you were to choose dentures instead.

Implants at St Luke’s OMS

St Luke’s OMS prides itself in being the leading provider of affordable dental implants in the Lehigh Valley. At St Luke’s OMS, All-on-4, trefoil, and traditional endosteal implants are the most commonly provided implant services. If you or a loved one are interested in hearing more about dental implants and the services offered at St Luke’s OMS, call 610-865-8077 to schedule your first consultation.

Coming in 2023, The Implant Center at St Luke’s OMS will open in Bethlehem, PA. This center will be a hub for any patient in need of extensive implant work. The office will even include a Yomi robot system. This is a state-of-the-art piece of robotic technology that will assist in guided implant surgery. The Implant Center at St Luke’s OMS will be the only provider in the region to utilize this robotic implant technology. St Luke’s OMS is confident that the implementation of this new technology will ensure that patients receive the best care possible, all with the goal of restoring smiles.

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