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The German Center for Dental Implantology

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Dental Implants - Why use permanent teeth replacement?

The time finally came: you need an artificial denture. For every one of us, this is bad news. Now you will have to decide whether you want removable or permanent dental prosthesis. In today's times, permanent dental prosthesis is often supported by dental implants. Dental implants are small artificial pillars inserted into the jaw and that hold an artificial tooth in much the same way that the natural root of a tooth does. Removable tooth replacement - the common denture - is supported only by a loose connection to the toothless jaw or is glued by more or less refined or intricate methods to the remaining teeth.

We all experience a slight shock once our dentist reveals that an unbridgeable gap has developed in the natural denture and that a partial prosthesis has become necessary. It gets even worse once a full dental prosthesis becomes necessary. Surely, you thought, that loss of tooth only affects people far older than yourself! The truth is far from that. There are many people around the age of 40 or 50 who have lost all their natural teeth because nature had equipped them with bad teeth, because they didn't take proper care for their teeth, or because of accidents or parodontitis. But the younger you are, the more extreme, the more severe, the psychological burden will be.

You'll be afraid of not being able to eat a good steak anymore, of being unable to order your favorite food at a restaurant because you can't chew properly. Many types of food - raw, fresh vegetables among them - will have to be avoided all together. In addition, as a bearer of an artificial denture, you might be confronted with quite embarrassing situations: it might just happen that an improperly secured denture ends up sticking to a starter dish. In particular, new or changed dental prostheses have a tendency to disconnect from whatever mechanism is holding them in ones mouth. And let's not even start with the thought of having a beautiful date catch you with your denture in hand, brushing away at it with a huge brush in the bathroom....

If you are self-conscious about your artificial teeth, you will develop a tendency to neglect their care. And this can have very bad consequences. Mind that your artificial teeth are not made from fragile, valuable glass, but rather from sturdy, white- pink plastic. To properly remove all remainders of food, you will need to use a huge, durable brush and brush your denture properly and with force. But who's going to do this, when everything needs to be done on the quick, so that nobody will catch you? And who likes to take a denture into one's hand?

The result is germs that will stick to the denture that will reproduce constantly. Also in that time, mold will form a smeary, furry coating. For both organisms, the warm, wet cave of the oral cavity is an ideal habitat.

In addition, dental prostheses have medical disadvantages. They transmit the pressure of chewing onto - and not into - the jawbone. This causes the jawbone to retract further and further with time. The denture thus destroys its own bearing. The longer you wear your removable denture, the more your jawbone will shrink with time and the bigger your problems with your artificial teeth will become. In the worse case, after years of wearing a removable denture, the lower jaw bone will become so thin, that there is a danger of it breaking even under normal conditions while chewing on regular food. The consequences are easily envisioned: Extensive surgery on the jaw will be required.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to removable dentures that does not have all of these disadvantages: titanium dental implants.

The idea on which dental implants are based is pretty old and simple: they try to reproduce the conditions of a natural denture as much as possible. Dental implants not only contain the function of the jaw by applying artificial teeth to the toothless jaw, they actually replace the whole tooth including its root. Dental implants are inserted directly into the jawbone at the position where usually the root of a tooth gives it strength and hold. Thus, dental implants would be best described as an "artificial root" of a tooth. They are not, as is commonly assumed, "implanted teeth". Rather, they replace the missing pillars that would normally be used for bridging a gap in the denture; they are the basis for a new set of teeth.

Continue reading: Dental implants - what exactly are they?