If you’ve ever had a tooth knocked out, you know that it remains viable for quite a while and can be reimplanted. If we can do that, why can’t we transplant teeth so that people can get natural replacement teeth rather than dental implants?
We Do in Some Cases
First, we have to note that in rare cases, tooth transplants are done. It’s just that they’re only what are called “autogenous” tooth transplants–transplanting teeth in your mouth from one site to another. Usually, this is done to fill in a gap in a child’s smile. This is where a natural tooth is definitely preferable to a dental implant, because the natural tooth can adapt better to the growing and changing jaw.
Contamination Is a Problem
But in terms of transplanting teeth from one person’s mouth to another, we have a major problem: the oral environment is full of bacteria, and if we brought over a tooth from one person’s mouth to another, we’d be bringing over a whole set of problems. And trying to sterilize the tooth would likely render it nonviable.
Aesthetics Is a Problem
Another problem with tooth transplantation is that it would be very hard to get a good match with your existing teeth. Teeth have a lot of personality in them, which is partly genetic and partly environmental. The odds that we could find a natural tooth that looks natural in your mouth seem very slim. Nobody’s going to notice if your kidneys don’t match, but they will notice if one your incisors is the wrong size/colour/shape for your mouth.
Healthy Donors Is a Problem
And even if we forget matching for a moment, we have to acknowledge that just finding enough reasonably healthy teeth to meet the demand would be difficult. Since most Australians have at least some level of decay in many of their teeth, or gum disease around it. And if it’s not decay, then it’s wear or erosion that makes a tooth less than desirable.
Dental Implants Work
Of course, to some extent we have to admit that all of this is kind of redundant because dental implants work so well. In fact, they work better than transplanted teeth in many cases. While long-term studies of dental implants show a survival rate of about 93%, tooth transplants have a survival rate of around 90%, and a much lower success rate. With the ability to make the procedure sterile, and to customize the results, dental implants are a great treatment option.
So, like regrowing teeth, it turns out that tooth transplants are just not as good as dental implants. If you’ve lost a tooth or are facing the loss of a tooth and want to learn about dental implants in the Sydney area, please call (02) 9686 7375 for an appointment with an implant dentist at My Hills Dentist today.