If an accident or cancer left you without part of your jaw and teeth. . . Eating, talking or even kissing would be out of the question. But now there is hope for patients with this problem.
The simple joys of life like eating good food or talking to a friend aren’t possible if you lose part of your jaw. Wearing dentures is almost impossible. But now. . . Doctors are giving patients new hope by combining reconstructive surgery with the technology of dental implants. The cancerous tumor that left Maye without part of her jaw bone is now gone . . . So too is the misery of not being able to talk or eat.
Maye, Dental Implant Patient:
“This is a pleasure and a treat to be able to eat, you know. It was a long time before I could actually put something in my mouth and chew it.”
Three years ago surgeons used bone from Maye’s shoulder blade to reconstruct her jaw. Periodic x-rays make sure the bone is secure. Titanium plates help hold the bone in place. Titanium is also used to implant teeth in the patients’ mouth.
“The remarkable thing about titanium is that it is extremely well biologically accepted, in other words the body treats it very much like itself.”
The implants are screwed into the jaw. Teeth are then placed on top. Dr. Rubenstein is part of a new team approach doctors are using to restore normal form and function to the lower jaw of patient’s like Maye. “The connection between the implant and the bone is very much like having an iron girder in a bed of concrete, that has set around it, it is an extremely rigid connection.”
Like any engineering project, implants do require a little fine tuning. . . But it is painless and only takes a few minutes.
You may be interested to learn that doctors say titanium is the same basic element used to make the wings of an airplane. . . Its cost in your mouth is about one thousand to fifteen-hundred per implant. That’s about 3 to 5 times more expensive than the average denture.