Edward Moncrief, dentist at 2TH Dental Practice, has often been asked the question “What are dental implants?” Patients often hear about implants in the media, or from friends, but are not sure exactly what they are. An implant replaces a missing tooth and is simply a metal post which is integrated into a patient’s jawbone. Essentially the dental implant acts as an “artificial root” on top of which a crown, dental bridge or implant supported denture can be secured.
An individual implant may be used to restore an area where a single tooth is missing or multiple dental implants may be used to restore a series of missing teeth, eliminating the need for partials or dentures.
Did you know that the Mayan civilisation has been shown to have used the earliest known examples of implants, dating back over 1,350 years? While excavating Mayan burial sites in Honduras in 1931, archaeologists found a fragment of mandible of Mayan origin, dating from about 600 AD. This mandible had three tooth-shaped pieces of shell placed into the sockets of three missing lower incisor teeth.