The traditional solution for unhealthy teeth has long been to save the tooth, eliminating pain or the potential for worsening condition as quickly as possible. It might only be a matter of time before the tooth begins to cause trouble again but long-term risks were typically unknown to the patient, regardless of how much money has been put towards saving what could be a lost cause.
Another common situation is a patient spending thousands of dollars to save one side of the mouth only to see the other side fail just a few months later. These days of pouring money down the drain might be over thanks to tremendous advancements in dental implant treatment.
Rather than immediately choosing to save unhealthy teeth, many dentists first show patients panoramic x-rays and a 3D CT scan that displays what all of their teeth will look like in five or ten years. If the future doesn’t look good, your dentist might recommend replacing the teeth with full mouth implants because the newly-updated procedure will greatly outweigh the long-term cost of ongoing, preventative treatment.
Patients are naturally surprised to hear such a drastic suggestion since they were likely under the impression that the only people who received full mouth implants had little if any healthy teeth. But in 2017, the actual procedure is far less time-consuming, reliable and costly than more root canals, crowns or bridgework.
For example, today’s dental implants can now require just 5 or 6 actual implants as opposed to treating each individual tooth. This is why some patients need just three appointments to replace every single tooth in their mouths. Patients with more than a few unhealthy teeth might also eventually resort to dentures, which, unlike dental implants, do not provide stimulation for bone health and can potentially worsen the patient’s appearance, creating a permanently sunken expression.
Rochester Hybridge in upstate New York is one of many practices around the US that allows patients to customize their new teeth based on tooth shade, size, and even material in order to look authentic.
According to Science Daily, dental implants have the potential to become even more advanced following the success of a new type of nano coating material. The primary reason dental implants fail is peri-implantitis, an inflammatory process that occurs when biofilm, an evolved form of oral bacteria, develops on implants and destroys the tissue surrounding them.
But in a recent study, a UK research team created a nano coating made of silver, titanium oxide and hydroxyapatite that restricted the development of bacteria and the formation of biofilm on dental implants by 97.5%.
In addition to reducing the risk of peri-implantitis, the nano coating accelerated bone healing and supported integration of the implants into the surrounding bone. Researcher and University of Plymouth Professor Richard Handy told Science Daily that the team now plans on replicating their findings “with animal models and then human volunteers.”
Figures from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry state that three million Americans currently have dental implants, a number that is supposed to rise by at least 500,000 this year. In about five years, the AAID said, the American and European market for dental implants will be worth at least $4.2 billion.