Dental Education Lecture: Which Tooth is Implant Supported?

In the last lecture, we mention that implant success rate is more than 97% in 7 years.  It is remarkably high.  When we have a bad tooth with pain, we need to do root canal, build-up and crown.  The success rate is not that high.  Success of implant is related to patients' determination.  The patients who choose implant restoration are very co-operative and follow doctor's advice religiously.  Some of them lose their teeth due to accident, congenital (by birth) tooth defect or missing proper dental treatment when they are young.  Before and after implant, they keep their oral hygiene perfect.  The picture on your right shows one side of back teeth with healthy gums.  Three teeth on the bottom are labeled, 1, 2, and 3.  One of them is an implant supported.  Can you guess which one?  If you have curiosity, please turn to here.

Implant success is also related to the material we use.  It is mainly made of titanium.  It is light.  We use it to make space shuttle and upgrade eyeglass framework.  Titanium is unique. It binds to our bone tightly.  Approximately 40 years ago, a Sweden scientist buried a piece of titanium in an animal bone and planned to retrieve it for exam under microscope several months later.  No matter how hard he tried during the second procedure, he could not remove the titanium from the bone.  Later on we first use titanium to replace our hip joint.  You can tell how strong it is.  Now implant dentistry has a history of 30 years or so.  We can use implants to restore one single missing tooth like here or help retain unstable denture.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 02/14/2009, last revision 09/28/2012