Human beings got the short end of the stick when it comes to the sets of natural teeth they get in a lifetime – two. After they lose their baby teeth, they need to take care of their adult teeth, because once those are gone, they need to look to man-made replacements.
That’s not fair compared to… say.. sharks, who get infinite replacement teeth. Some might say the trade off of having much higher cognitive skills and not having to constantly move to stay alive might be worth it.
Still, science has kept working to adequately allow humans to replace any lost adult teeth. Dental implants, where a titanium screw is fused with the jawbone to act as a root for a replacement tooth, is the pinnacle. What’s next, though?
Stem cells could be the next step after dental implants. While it’s still deep in the research phase, there are stem cells in our teeth that could be used to create natural replacements. Instead of throwing out our baby and wisdom teeth once they fall out or are removed, we could preserve them.
One of the pitfalls of doing something like this is that the body might reject the new tooth like other implants, but researchers have had some modest success doing this with rats, so it is a promising method for the not-so-distant future.
It would be a much less expensive way to replace teeth in the long run. This is still not occurring very soon but breakthroughs are right around the corner.
Improved Dental Implants
That’s not to say that dental implants are going anywhere, even with stem cell on the horizon. It’s still a rising market and CAD/CAM technology is making matters even simpler.
This technology makes it easy to custom-create the replacement teeth that will be attached to the titanium screw that fuses with the patient’s jawbone.
On top of that, there are mini-implants that can be used to offset any loss of jawbone density. There’s even a movement toward making zero bone loss implants
Although the implants themselves are surgically placed within a sterile environment, there is the risk of microbial infection, especially if the patient doesn’t brush and floss as diligently as they should.
There’s a solution – the implants themselves can slowly secrete antimicrobial agents that can eliminate the bacteria that can cause the infection. That can make for a much faster adjustment period for the patient.
Like many other aspects of medicine and technology, improvements tend to happen in leaps and bounds. What may far-fetched now may become routine in a decade. It’s a great time for oral health.
The staff at Acadia Dental & Dentures is just as excited to learn about what’s coming down the road with dental implants as you are. They are already experts and will gladly explain the process to you if you call them at either 301-797-2538 or 301-662-1760z