The best way to replace a missing tooth is both tried and tested. Read on for how the treatment has advanced over the years.
In looking for ideas for our daily blog, we frequently bemoan the fact that Ireland doesn’t have a great body of statistics on matters dental. This is a pity, as it could inform future policies on dental care, and also help the dental industry as a whole gear itself towards the most appropriate treatments for the Irish market.
When considering items of dental statistics, therefore, we often have to look at the stats from comparable overseas markets, and look to extrapolate what this might mean in Ireland.
One of the markets that we often look to is America, which has a wealth of statistics on all things dental that are not just interesting – but also highly practical.
By way of example, it’s estimated that 69% of the U.S. population between the ages of 35 and 44 have at least one missing tooth.
And for the population over the age of 74, some 25% have lost ALL of their natural teeth.
We can’t give you a directly comparable figure for Ireland, but we guess that the figures might not be all that different – and possibly a little worse.
So with this large amount of missing teeth, there’s obviously a need for a solution. Thankfully, there’s not just one solution – there are multiple ways in which your dentist can fill in that gap in your smile.
But without doubt, teeth implants are the treatment du jour, as they are best at replicating the feel, the function and the look of your real teeth.
You might be inclined to think that implants are a very modern treatment, but the first signs of this concept in action date back to the seventh century, when a Mayan woman had tooth-sized pieces of shell hammered into her jaw. And without anaesthetic!
The modern iteration of implants, however, goes back a number of decades in this part of the world. Back in the year 1951, a number of American dentists who were using dental implants formed the AAID to share their thinking and their expertise of implantology. This is believed to have been the first global organisation committed to the promotion and advancement of implants.
These days, implants are usually made of titanium, which is not just a very strong material, but it's also accepted by the body, so it’s perfectly suitable for this form of usage. It actually promotes the growth of bone around it.
One of the big benefits of implants that we often forget is that the implant is the anchor for a fabricated tooth which will never need a filling, as it’s made from an artificial material. This doesn't mean that there’s no need to brush and floss around your implants, however, as you have to remember that bacteria attack your gums – not your teeth.
Over on this side of the Atlantic, we were quick to follow the American lead and have become highly expert in this field. It's true to say that in the area of dental implants Ireland can hold its own with the best that the world has to offer, so you’ll have no shortage of great implantologists to choose from.
If you're missing a tooth or two and would like to do something about it, may we recommend this helpful article to fill in some further gaps in your knowledge - http://www.deardoctor.com/inside-the-magazine/issue-21/dental-implant-maintenance/