Future of Dental Implants

The Future of Dental Implants

Dental Implants—Great Improvement in the Last 50 Years

So today, implant dentistry is quite different than how it looked 40, 50 years ago. Today implant procedures are done much simpler. They’re done much faster. In the past, 50 years ago, if you had a dental implant, it would have been done under general anesthetic and it would have been done in a hospital.

Today, almost everything can be done as an outpatient procedure. In some cases, some procedures can be done in less than an hour. Once an implant was put in place it was left buried and you would have had to wait six months to nine months before the next step was done and the whole procedure itself could have taken a year and a half, two years, sometimes longer. We have something we call immediate implants and immediate teeth. If a person has a tooth in place and it’s failing, that tooth can be removed and an implant can be put in that very same day provided there’s good bone quality, good bone volume around it, and there’s no infection. Not only put an implant in place, we can actually put a temporary tooth in place so a person can walk in with a failing tooth and walk out with an implant.

Implants Need to be Protected from Movement to Allow Bone to Fuse

Now there are certain things we need to do to ensure the success of that because we are pushing the envelope when we do that. It’s much like when you break a bone. Your arm is put in a cast and if that bone is not immobilized, in other words, kept from moving, it’s not going to heal and we have to do the same thing with an implant. So if an implant is put in place, that’s why it was sometimes buried.

But if we do actually put an implant in place and put a tooth on it, we can do that— we just have to ensure that the force from chewing, and the tongue, and such is not such that it’s going to cause more movement than the bone can handle physiologically to allow that bone to fuse to the implant.

Demand for Dental Implants has Grown Exponentially

And of course. I mentioned also there’s been huge changes in bone growth, and how could we grow bone, how could we go from this type of situation back to this situation? Our early success and our continued success in dentistry with implants has also lead to wide demand and actual implants and the demand for implants have been growing exponentially. These are some old data from 2001.

About a quarter in a million implant procedures was done in the United States alone. Over the course of 17 years in the United States, about three million people received dental implants and around 13 years ago, close to a million implants were placed in the United States and it was increasing at about 18% per year, and around 2009, well over 10 million implants were placed, and literally, it’s growing exponentially. There is hardly a corner of the world or country in the world where new dental implants are either not available, or not being placed, or not being rebuilt. In fact, I’ve had people from all over the place, from Southeast Asia, from a little tiny island called Mauritius, and when I go to many of these implant conferences, I rub elbows with dentists from all over the world, practically every nation, language, and country, where they are placing and restoring dental implants.

So dental implant is here to stay and it’s because it is so successful and it is such a dramatic change from anything like this, that there’s a huge demand, and in the last 20 some odd years, I have seen a huge growth in my own practice here in Vancouver as far as people looking for dental implants.

Twenty years ago, no one had a clue as to what a dental implant was. Now a lot of people have a sense of what an implant is and most people know of 1 or 2 people themselves if they haven’t had implants…and most people know of at least 1 or 2 people themselves that have had dental implants and have had good success with it, so now they also are coming in and asking, “well what about me? Am I a good candidate for this type of work?”

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