The Problem with Bridges
There are many reasons why bridges have become obsolete. One is that they frequently need replacing. Another is that periodontal infections can occur since the bridge makes it difficult for patients to keep their gums clean with flossing and brushing. The typical lifespan of a bridge is only about 10 years, given that a problem with the dental health of the supporting crowned teeth does not occur sooner.
It is now common practice to insert implants and place individuals crowns as a cosmetic solution to missing teeth. Dental implants are much more natural looking and eliminate the need for concern when smiling or eating certain foods. Small titanium posts are inserted into the jawbone and topped with artificial teeth that look like your other natural teeth.
Though initially more costly, implants are typically more economical in the long run since they are permanent and rarely need to be replaced. They are also a more practical solution when it comes to preserving a healthy mouth, with new and better materials and oral surgery techniques continuously developing. Just as natural teeth require daily care and professional cleaning, so too do dental implants. Though implants do not decay, the surrounding teeth, gum tissue, and underlying bones require flossing and brushing between the implants to stay healthy; a task that is much easier with implants than with bridges.
Implants of Tomorrow
New forms of implants are currently being studied, and though they are not available yet, they soon could be. Using nanotechnology, scientists are working to lower the rate of dental implant replacement from the already low 5% to zero. Despite a high success rate, the two issues that do occur from time to time are infection and separation from the bone. The newer implants may be able to help fight infection and improve bone healing around the implant.
The new dental implant surface is made from titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotubes, a substance that has been shown to encourage cell growth of the bone for faster and stronger adherence to the implants. The information gained from a recent study is the possibility of implants that will stay in place permanently and last the life of the patient.
An additional advantage of the TiO2 nanotubes is the demonstrated ability to fill the tubes with medication, which can be gradually dispelled following oral surgery. The drug gets directly to the location it is needed, and the side effects of oral and injected medications are reduced. Silver nanoparticles may also be able to be laced within the nanotubes, which have properties that fight infection.
The reality of TiO2 nanotubes emerging in future dental implants is left to be seen, but significant research and provisional patents indicate these implants could be seen in the not so distant future. The oral surgery associated with these implants would be no different than current techniques.
Dr. Jamali performs dental implant surgery at his in-office operating suite under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, he will work with your restorative dentist to help you improve the health and beauty of your smile. Contact Dr. Jamali at 212-480-2777 at his New York office. http://www.omsofny.com/
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