By Alexander Germanis
It has long been said to not judge a book by its cover. This axiom extends to not judging a person by their looks; nevertheless, humans do that — whether consciously or subconsciously. One of the most influential parts of the face, one we often judge or determine trust by, is the smile, and a smile is only as good as the teeth within it.
Most people know someone who is afraid to smile for want of good teeth. They either refuse to part their lips when posing for a photo, or perhaps they nonchalantly obscure their grin with their hand. In short, they have no trust in their teeth.
One of the major causes of this distrust is because of a missing tooth or teeth. For a long time, dentures, partials, and bridges were the only options available for people missing teeth. While the artificial constructs were an improvement over the alternative, they have their flaws.
With nearly one hundred years of dental experience under their belts, the maxillofacial surgeons at Doran, Capodice, Efaw, and Ocheltree, LLC know that every once in a while, something comes down the dental pike that changes everything.
“Dental implants are changing the face of dentistry,” declares Stephen Doran, DMD. “The future of dentistry is the expansion of and increased use of implants to replace teeth, which is great. There’s a real likelihood that, in the future, people won’t have dentures and partial dentures anymore.”
Dental implants, very simply, consist of a metal post, usually made of titanium, which is implanted in the jawbone. It acts like the roots of a tooth, permanently anchoring what is placed on it, whether that is a single artificial tooth, a bridge, or a denture.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this dental innovation is that it is not really that new of a thing. Thomas Ocheltree, DMD, shares his family’s history with dental implants. “My grandma was a heavy smoker,” he recalls, “and back in the early 1980’s she got a hemimandibulectomy [a surgical removal of half of her jawbone].” I remember every Christmas or Thanksgiving meal she had was of blenderized food.”
“Eventually she got to a point where she got some teeth,” he continues. “She had three implants put in, and it got her to where she could function again. That changed her life.”
Although that happened nearly 40 years ago, numerous improvements have been made in implant technology since then.
“I’ve been placing implants for about 25 years, and I’ve watched the evolution of implant technology,” says David Efaw, MD, DDS. “The history is good; the science is good. The basic biology is still there; what’s gotten better is the implant surface technology. The shape, the engineering, the size has improved to better accommodate the teeth that are missing.”
Those improvements have brought the overall success rate of dental implants to over 97 percent!
As Jack Capodice, Jr. MD, DMD, says, “It’s no wonder dental implants are exploding in popularity. They’ve become mainstream dental care in the last two decades, more so in the last decade. Because of that, there’s a lot of media buzz about different treatment options.”
However, things like Teeth in a Day or Clear Choice may not be the best treatment options for a patient. Fortunately, learning about patient options is something that has been improving alongside dental implant technology.
“Patients have become more aware over the last couple of decades that they need to ask questions, engage in their treatment to a greater degree, and understand the procedures better before they embark on any kind of treatment plan,” Dr. Capodice says.
Whatever dental implant treatment plan is chosen, the end result will be the same: a smile you can trust.
To learn more about dental implants, their origin and evolution, look for the next installment of “Changing the Face of Dentistry” in future issues of Healthy Cells Magazine.
Drs. Doran, Capodice, Efaw, and Ocheltree provide a full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery with expertise ranging from wisdom tooth removal and dental implants to bone grafting procedures, corrective jaw surgery, and cosmetic facial surgery. Their office is located at 109 Regency Dr. in Bloomington. For more information, you may call 309-663-2526 or visit them online at www.dceooms.com.