Have you ever seen a picture of a snail in a dentist’s waiting room? You probably won’t find one or one of sharks or crocodiles either. For one, crocodiles are scary and sharks, while beautiful in their own way, are also creepy.
What do all these creatures large and small have in common? They are all part of an evolutionary path that allows them to engage in a type of do-it-yourself dentistry. It’s probably common knowledge that sharks have multiple rows of teeth. The number of teeth per row will varies from species to species but essentially each tooth just falls out when it has done its job. When the tooth is gone the tooth in the row behind simply takes its place. This natural tooth replacement system allows them to use over 30,000 teeth in their lifetime! Crocodiles don’t fair quite as good when it comes to tooth loss and replacement — Wikipedia reports that they only lose only 3,000 teeth in their lifetimes!
In the book, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Elizabeth Bailey describes her envy towards gastropods and their inherent tooth-rotation ability, finding it far preferably to her own species’ current design of dental physiology. Humans, with only 1 set of 32 permanent teeth to work with throughout their lives are simply amateurs compared to creatures such as snails, slugs, sharks and crocodiles, who obviously have tooth regeneration down cold.
As part of the gastropod family, snails have 2,640 teeth total, with 80 rows of teeth and 33 teeth per row. These multiple rows are called radula. Their teeth are delicate but sharp and also continuously fall out and are replaced. This isn’t a surprise since their diet is comprised of vegetation. For snails, teeth rotation and regeneration works by rows, as one row is worn down another moves forward and into place. Tooth replacement is a snap for them and usually takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.
For us mere humans, tooth replacement is only available in the form of tooth or dental implants placed by a dentist. Unfortunately, our “Intelligent Designer” provided us with only 32 permanent teeth to last our entire lifetime, and nearly 37 million Americans suffer from tooth loss. For adults who are missing all of their teeth, dentures are usually one of the options, but now they can be stabilized and fixed in place by a few full sized root form implants or mini dental implants. Denture wearers are thus able to have the function and confidence similar to having their own natural teeth without relying on messy adhesives. By anchoring dentures to the jawbone, Mini Dental Implants (MDIs) give patient’s their self-confidence back. Worries about slippage during social situations or eating are a thing of the past. The best part is this procedure is both affordable and minimally invasive.
Not every patient is a candidate for full-size implants. Some patients simply lack adequate and supportive bone structure. Many find that full-size implants are priced outside of their budget. The best way to find out if you’re a good candidate is to have an evaluation. Mini dental implants can have your smile in place and secured with minimal trauma and cost. Feel the empowerment of a transformed smile and lose your tooth envy, call me or my team at our Southfield office at 248-356-8790 today!
Until Next Time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD