Teeth have always played a big role in human civilization — same with tooth loss. Even now, with all the advancements we’ve made in dental technology, tooth loss is still prevalent. Partly, it’s a vicious cycle: the longer you keep your teeth, the longer you can stay healthy and the longer you will live. But the longer you live, the more likely you are to lose some teeth. In the United States alone, an estimated 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and about 40 million are missing all of their teeth. Lucky for us, we have advanced methods that are both safe and effective at replacing missing teeth. What did we do before dental implants?

Different aged woman having a conversation about dental care. Teeth have always played a big role in human civilization — same with tooth loss. What did we do before dental implants existed?

A Blast From the Past

Although it may surprise some, people have been replacing their missing teeth for as early as 2000 BC. remains discovered in China dating from this period had shaped bamboo pegs inserted into their jaw. Whether this was done for functional or aesthetic reasons is hard to determine, but similar findings have been discovered all around the world.

One of the earliest recorded cases of a replacement tooth was found on the body of an Egyptian king who lived around 1000 BC. Gold wire was used to support a replacement tooth, like a primitive dental bridge. Another notable discovery occurred in Honduras in 1930. The mandible of a Mayan women thought to be in her twenties was discovered at a dig site, containing three “tooth-shaped” seashells that had been inserted into sockets in the jaw that once held teeth, which seemed to hint these “tooth-replacements” happened when she was still alive.

Teeth are incredibly important to us, so it’s no wonder losing them can be scary. They help us to eat, speak, and show others our affection. If you’ve recently lost one or more teeth, however, you’re in luck. We’ve developed tooth replacement methods much more sophisticated than seashells.

Introducing: Dental Implants

Dental implants allow patients who have lost teeth, a replacement option that is safe, effective, and visually appealing. Comprised of two main parts, the titanium implant, and the ceramic crown, the key to their success is the natural process of osseointegration. After a titanium implant has been surgically implanted into a patient’s jaw bone, muscle tissue and bone matter will begin to fuse with the implant, creating a secure connection that mimics that of a natural tooth root. When the healing is over, a custom-designed crown is crafted to match the exact shade of your other teeth. Because ceramic has a luster that is similar to the gleam of natural tooth enamel, they’re virtually impossible to tell apart from other teeth.

Dental implants boast a 98 percent success rate, and don’t require any special cleaning procedures. In fact, you can treat them just like normal teeth. However, they may not be right for everyone.

If you’re hoping to understand more about dental implants, schedule an appointment so you can further discuss with your dentist.

If you would like to learn more about dental implants in Corpus Christi and how cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) can help you achieve the best results, please call (361) 851-8274 or email the Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry today for an appointment.