The answer may surprise you, because far from being something that is new, dental implants have been around for many hundreds of years. In fact fairly recent analysis reveals that the Mayans were using dental implants nearly one and a half thousand years ago, in 600 A.D.
The discovery of a Mayan skull with three teeth missing, each of which had been replaced with fragments of shell embedded in the jaw, suggested at first that this was simply a ritual completed after death to restore the corpse to what would be considered a completed state. However, further research revealed bone compression in the jaw which indicated that these three implanted shell fragments were fitted whilst the person was alive, perhaps enabling them to eat more effectively.
Today with titanium dental implants the technology has certainly improved considerably from sticking bits of broken shell in people’s jaw, and until fairly recently it was still a fairly rare procedure. But for a number of different reasons the interest in having dental implants fitted has soared, doubling in the last year alone.
Data collected by the medical and dental search website www.whatclinic.com surveyed over 150,000 people in the UK who were researching local private dental clinics. Of those 150,000 people, 2,500 of them were actively interested in finding out more about having dental implants fitted and the associated costs. This is a rise of 105% above the interest expressed during the same period the year before.
Why Have Dental Implants Become So Popular?
So what has driven this massive increase in interest in dental implants? Partly it is simply an awareness of the fact that they exist. Previously it was usually something recommended or suggested by dentists themselves, but these days it is often the patients who are proactive in making enquiries about whether they would be able to benefit from having dental implants.
There are several celebrities in the news who have dental implants, and these have also raised media awareness.
So part of reason is simply that there is greater consumer awareness, but another reason is almost certainly the fact that prices have become increasingly competitive, meaning that the procedure is more affordable than it has been previously.
The medical and dental search website www.whatclinic.com surveyed 555 UK clinics which offer dental implants through the website, and interestingly it seems that the average price now quoted is £1,860. 7% of the clinics actually quoted between £500 and £1,000, with 13% of clinics quoting between £1,000 and £1,500.
Providing A Final Option For Patients
In some cases of course dental implants are the only viable option for those patients who have several teeth missing, especially when those teeth are consecutive, but of course titanium implants can also be used for an individual tooth, and with patients generally much more conscious about the way in which they look as a result of having a tooth missing, it is perhaps no surprise that affordability and increased consumer awareness has resulted in so much more interest being generated.
It’s important to note that well over half of the adult population in the UK have at least one tooth missing. Around 57% of all adults, that’s 27 million people in the UK, are able to benefit from having either a single implant to replace one tooth, or multiple implants to replace several teeth.
Across the UK interest in having implants fitted varies, with those in the West Midlands and London expressing the most interest, with a significant amount of interest in Scotland and Somerset.
Of course whilst many people are expressing interest in dental implants because of the aesthetic benefits which they offer, it is also worth bearing in mind that durable implants help to improve the ability to bite and chew food, as well as helping to protect the remaining teeth either side.