Advances in dentistry make this possible

After a break of over four years, he was able to bite into a juicy and ripe guava that he is very fond of. Vexed with the dentures (false teeth) that kept slipping out, Mulpuru Gangadhara Rao, a horticulturist from Pedavegi village in West Godavari district, made quite an investment to get an all together new set of ‘permanent teeth'.

He was a heavy smoker and the habit had a heavy toll on him. Mr. Rao lost all his 32 teeth by the time he was 48, but thanks to the advances in the science of dentistry, he is now able to eat everything. He is one of those rare persons who had to go for an entire set of new teeth.

His dentist and maxillary facial surgeon A. Sridhar Reddy said on Thursday that patients who go for the entire set were hard to come by, but with an increase in awareness more and more people were preferring dental implants to dentures and bridges in which two adjoin teeth are reduced to stumps to provide support for the fake tooth set in place of the missing tooth.

Dental implants are titanium alloy pieces that are surgically implanted into the jaw bone of the patient. It takes a few months for the implants to heal and in the process bone gets integrated with the titanium implant, Dr. Reddy said.

Plastic or ceramic abutments are then screwed on to the titanium alloy implants. The plastic abutments, which also look very much like teeth are temporary and the ceramic ones are permanent. All implants are of titanium alloy and cost the same, but the abutments are available in different materials and their prices vary, Dr. Reddy said.

Age is not a limiting factor for getting dental implants. “The strength and the health of the bone is what matters,” he said. An 87-year-old woman also got dental implants because she had healthy bones. Mr. Rao was very happy because he would be able to eat all the different fruits and non-vegetarian too.