Dental implants, one of the fastest growing fields in the area of dentistry, should never be taken lightly. In addition to often prohibitive costs, root-form implants constitute a substantial surgical undertaking, and although they boast a success rate of about 98%, the healing process can take up to six months, multiple x-rays and scans and usually at least two office visits. Countless notable dentists around the world attest to the benefits of such a process, but surgery is surgery. As the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) wisely points out, “A successful implant requires that all parties involved – the patient; the restorative dentist, who makes the crown for the implant; and the oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who surgically places the implant, follow a careful plan of treatment. All members of the implant team stay in close contact with each other to make sure everyone clearly understands what needs to be done to meet the patient’s expectations.”
Still, unlike bridges, no additional teeth need to be altered to place the new tooth with implants, temporary crowns with the immediate load implants allow the patient to continue eating and speaking normally while the jaw bone proceeds with osseointegration. A study published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery concludes, “Almost all oral and maxillofacial surgery residents feel that implant dentistry will be an important part of their practice.” Although this technology is a major step in the field of dentistry, an article in the UK’s Independent today suggests that an even more futuristic methodology may be emerging:
“Scientists have taken a step closer to growing human teeth from scratch using cells taken from a patient’s mouth,” the piece reads. “A ‘hybrid’ tooth made from a mixture of human gum cells and mouse embryonic cells has been grown in laboratory mice to test a method that might in the future be adapted to become an alternative to dental implants.”
The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, suggests these so-called “bio-teeth” would develop normally and look much like ordinary teeth, “with good roots and periodontal ligaments.” Sounds awesome, right? Unfortunately, we’re still a long way off from the future: The tooth grown in the lab contains animal-derived material, so a human mouth would never accept it naturally, and one of the scientists behind the study admits, “it was only created to demonstrate that the procedure can produce a viable tooth.” But a step forward has been accomplished and a path carved out for “pure-human” teeth, which is exciting enough on its own!
And, rest assured, that if a breakthrough comes, we’ll be right on top of it. After all, our mission at Calabasas Dental Spa is to provide the most technologically advanced care in dentistry. Go science!
But don’t hold your breath for the “bio- teeth” to become a reality because it may take a while. If you are missing teeth or want to get rid of your old bridges, give us a call. We can help you today!