Dentures Then and Now

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The world of cosmetic dentistry is constantly evolving and improving. New materials are being developed, new techniques are being perfected, and things we never even dreamed of twenty years ago are now common procedures in most general and cosmetic dentistry offices. But of all the cosmetic dentistry procedures available, none has received so massive an upgrade as dentures.

Dentures used to be clunky, imprecise, and time-consuming. They were held in place with adhesive glue that easily come unstuck. They were often a drastic departure from the patient’s previous bite pattern, which would result in an uncomfortable adjustment period as the jaw muscles realigned themselves. They required periodic adjustments for a secure fit, as well as to perform any denture repairs that may be needed. And they often caused gum and jaw pain simply with daily wear.

Cosmetic dentistry implants have been around, in concept, for almost a thousand years. The Chinese used to use bamboo shoots inserted into the gum, and the skeleton of a Mayan woman was discovered with tooth-shaped bits of shell hammered into the gumline. Modern scientists agreed that the process was sound, and would certainly be a more stable solution than adhesive-bound dentures, but the materials were less-than-ideal.

Titanium implants were first used in the human mouth around 1965. Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark discovered that titanium did not stimulate a foreign-body reaction in the body, as did so many other metals and materials, and so could be inserted into the bone without fear of rejection or infection. With this discovery, the world of cosmetic dentistry implants and the medical world in general was revolutionized.

Today, titanium implants are the common choice for root replacement, serving as safe, stable anchors for one tooth, several teeth, or an entire upper or lower dental set. The permanence of implant-secured replacements provides a lasting and practical alternative to adhesive, allows a patient to retain their natural bite pattern, and makes cleaning dentures a breeze — it’s the same toothbrushing technique they’ve known their whole lives. Who knows what we’ll be able to do 20 years from now… Read more:

Tom Pultney

Tom Pultney

If you’re anything like the average person out there, the words “root canal” are enough to make you cringe, and just thinking about the sound of a dentist drill sends a shiver down your spine. Did you know that the best dental hygiene can keep the drill out of your mouth? I’m Tom Pultney, hygienist and president of the Dental Hygiene Association. Like anyone in the medical profession, I wish as much as anyone else we didn’t have to do what we do, and everyone’s teeth were perfect, straight and bright. But the reality is, that won’t happen without keeping up on your dental hygiene, and whether you need a dentist for your annual cleaning, or for some dental work, we’ve got info on the best dentists around the US.

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