Could You Really Regrow A Lost Tooth?
Tooth loss will affect around 60 percent of us in our lifetimes that's two out of three people. The odds that you'll keep all of your teeth are definitely not in your favor, so what are your options when the (not always) inevitable happens?
Everyone's dream, of course, would be to simply regrow their lost teeth. Imagine coming to our Waterford dentist office for nothing but a zap in the mouth that triggers tooth regrowth wouldn't that be amazing? It would definitely make our jobs a lot simpler no more tooth repair, just extract and regrow!
The reality of things is a bit different we can't exactly regrow teeth yet. A recent study has found a striking similarity between our mouths and those of the most notorious tooth regenerators on the planet: sharks.
Sharks Vs. Humans: Where's The Common Ground?
Around 4 million years, give or take a few hundred thousand or so, sharks and humans had a common ancestor. The early days of life on earth were spent in the oceans, and most fish had to constantly regenerate their teeth in order to survive. Meal time can be rough in the depths, and that means a lot of damaged teeth.
When our evolution diverged from that of sharks they got to keep the regenerating teeth and we ended up on land, with opposable thumbs, and pretty good brains (we probably got the better end of that bargain). Here's where things get interesting: we might not be able to regenerate our teeth for life, but we do grown a second pair that comes in between seven and ten years of age. Is this the link?
Scientists believe they've found some serious connections there: the genes that trigger our adult teeth to develop and erupt are the same genes that control tooth reproduction in sharks! Pretty amazing, isn't it? That means we're only one (very large) scientific breakthrough from being able to regrow our teeth.
Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. There's a lot of research and medical development that needs to happen before we can actually regrow teeth. It's a neat idea to think about, but for now we only know that there's a genetic similarity that could end up being our path to lifelong, and easily maintainable, healthy smiles.
Until we get to that point (don't hold your breath) we're going to need to settle for the next best thing: dental implants.
Tooth Regrowth Almost
Dental implants aren't quite the real deal, but they're an amazingly close recreation. Using titanium screws that mimic the function of natural tooth roots we can replace missing teeth permanently and with the same degree of function that the real one used to have!
Implants are placed directly in your jaw where a missing tooth once was. Once they heal they're just as strong, functional, durable, and natural looking as real teeth. We restore our dental implants with lifelike crowns and bridges made from state-of-the-art materials that will have you wondering which tooth isn't one you grew yourself.
Getting dental implants is a relatively simple and painless procedure. We'll have you fully numbed up, and sedated if you wish, before we start a single thing. Once you're comfortable and relaxed we'll place the implant and you'll be well on your way to a perfect new smile.
Implants only take a few months to heal, during which time it will be protected with a cap. Once we place your crown or bridge caring for your implant will be amazingly simple: you don't need to do anything else besides brush and floss like you did with the real thing!
What About Bridges?
You might be wondering why a dental bridge couldn't fulfill the same purpose. They can, but an implant is vastly preferred!
- Bridges don't replace the tooth itself, just the crown portion that sits above the gums. This leads to continued bone loss where the missing tooth was located. Bone loss can spread to other teeth as well.
- Placing a bridge requires placing crowns on the neighboring teeth to support it. This essentially ruins two teeth just to replace one missing one not the best option!
- The life expectancy of a bridge is about ten to 15 years. When taken care of a dental implant can last for life without any problems at all.
It's Not Tooth Regeneration, But It's Still Amazing!
Outside of science fiction, tooth replacement doesn't get more advanced than dental implants. If you want to find out more about this amazing option for restoring lost teeth don't hesitate to contact our Waterford dentist office today.