Dental implants are a great way to replace a tooth that is missing or has been damaged beyond repair. It’s a common procedure done by our cosmetic dentistry team here in Virginia, and the final results are difficult to distinguish from natural teeth. While dental implants have gained popularity in the last decade and more of our patients are familiar with them when they come into our office, there is still a lot of misinformation about this procedure. We love helping our patients learn more about the dental practices and procedures that could help them achieve a healthier smile, so here are ten surprising things you probably didn’t know about dental implants.

These Dental Implant Facts Might Surprise You

More than three million Americans have dental implants.

Most Americans lost an average of twelve teeth by the time they reach the age of 50. They might lose those teeth due to injury or illness, car accidents, or simply a case of genetics causing their teeth to be at higher risk of disease and decay. The chances that you’ll lose one or more of your teeth increases as you get older. Dental implants can replace these missing teeth, which is why more and more Americans are getting them.

Only about 1 in every 10 dentists do dental implants.

Not every dentist is qualified or chooses to do dental implant procedures, although more are being trained on the techniques every year. The procedure requires a great deal of technical know-how and involves drilling into the bone of the jaw, so additional training is required. Dentists across the country have seen the many advantages of dental implants, though, and are eager to provide this service to their patients. It’s important to find an experienced dentist to do your implants for you.

Dental implants can actually stimulate bone growth.

Dental implants are one of the only dental procedures that can actually stimulate bone growth. The anchor of the dental implant is placed in the jaw, then a prosthetic tooth is attached. The titanium anchor can stimulate more bone growth in the jaw, helping reverse bone loss that occurs due to missing or damaged teeth.

The idea for dental implants is about 1,400 years old.

We might think it’s a new idea because many of us only heard about the procedure in the last ten years or so, but the idea of dental implants is actually hundreds of years old. One skeleton of a Mayan woman showed that fragments of natural materials like seashell had been inserted into her mouth to give the appearance of teeth!

Modern dental implants started in 1913.

It was called the Greenfield crib or the Greenfield implant system. The system used an implant along with a gold crown. They weren’t as durable as today’s dental implants; modern implants can last a lifetime while the Greenfield implant system produced implants that only lasted a few years. However, when those implants were removed, there was evidence that the bone and implant had started to integrate together.

Dental implants look just like your natural teeth.

Implants are one of the only cosmetic dentistry procedures that’s virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth. The implant is created to look just like your real teeth, and you’ll be able to do everything with the implant that you would do with your natural teeth. That makes them incredibly successful for dental restorations!

You have to care for dental implants like your natural teeth.

While your dental implants won’t develop cavities like your natural teeth can, you’ll still need to care for them. Dental implants need to be brushed and flossed regularly in order to ensure they last and the gums around them don’t start to deteriorate.

Dental implants are made of titanium.

Titanium is a strong silver metal that’s used to make all kinds of things, including many pieces for planes. Titanium is great for dental implants because it is durable and resists corrosion. It’s also lightweight and easy to mold into the necessary shapes.

You can eat just like normal with a dental implant.

One of the major advantages of a dental implant is the fact that you can eat all of your favorite foods with them, even the sticky, gooey ones. Dental implants behave just like your natural teeth, so if it was a food that you used to enjoy with your natural teeth, you’ll be able to enjoy it with your dental implants as well. Just remembers to brush and floss afterward to protect your gums!

Dental implants can help you keep the rest of your teeth.

Once you lose a tooth, you’ll be at a much higher risk of losing additional teeth. That’s because the loss of a tooth means that additional pressures are put on the remaining teeth in your mouth; that can cause them to wear away faster. A missing tooth can also cause the bone in your jaw to start to deteriorate because the root is no longer there. Bone loss can make the surrounding teeth weaker and at risk of falling out. A dental implant mimics the body’s natural tooth, thus minimizing your risk of losing more teeth!

Are you missing one or more teeth? It’s time to discover the benefits of dental implants and whether or not you are a good candidate for the procedure. Schedule an appointment with our cosmetic dentistry team today. They will answer all of your questions and help you find the restorative treatment options that are right for your teeth!