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New FDA-approved Dental Implants Working, Looking Better

Published: Mar. 23, 2016 at 11:47 AM CDT
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Dental implants, where a post is put into the jawbone to hold a crown, are improving with new technology. Newly- approved implants not only look better, but work better.

“It affects everything. Your life, your self-esteem, your confidence,” said Liz Martinez.

Martinez knows how a missing tooth can affect much more than just your smile.

Martinez told Ivanhoe “I had to be careful of what I ate. I couldn’t really eat any hard foods such as apples, celeries, or anything hard.”

So, she’s opted for an implant. Martinez is one of just a few patients in the U.S. to get a new FDA- approved ceramic implant.

Dr. Stefanie Seitz, assistant professor of Comprehensive Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas told Ivanhoe, “This is actually ivory- colored, just like a tooth root would be, and so it’s a lot more aesthetic, and especially for someone like Liz, she has this huge smile, this huge personality, so this is a perfect fit for her.”

For years, dentists have used titanium for implant posts, but even when paired with a ceramic crown, titanium can be problematic.

“Those are metal, so they have a grayish color, so people have these huge smiles, and if their gum tissue is thin, you can actually see that gray showing through,” said Dr. Seitz.

Dr. Seitz and her team are among the first to use the implants, which are much stronger and not prone to fracture.

Dentists place the implant by using 3D software that creates a plastic template.

“We use it to give us the right position of the implant, the right angulation and that way, it’s dead on, exactly where we need to be,” explained Dr. Seitz.

Martinez is looking forward to getting her final crown.

“Once I can eat, I’m gonna bite into a big apple,” said Martinez.

Dental implants are an option for healthy patients, and the cost is higher than dentures or bridges. The surgery takes just a couple of hours under local anesthesia.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Shari St Clair, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Brent Sucher Editor; Bruce Maniscalco, Videographer.

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