My Tender Biomechanical Osseointegration

February 15, 2009

nate beaty the dork with his face teeth

I have a fake tooth in my head. I was born missing one maxillary lateral incisor.

My mom rationalized this modification, implanted when I was 13, with “what if you wanted to become an actor?” Surely this was done with good intentions. But now I have a long titanium base drilled into my jawbone, and affixed to that, a poorly designed faux tooth. And I’m still not an actor, damnit.

nate beaty's teeth

God, what were they thinking? Did my tooth shrink in the last 20 years? Or were they drunk when they took the mold?

I’ve never read up much on the procedure, having a mostly negative opinion of it over the years. It required many years of painful and expensive orthodontics, primarily because I managed to miss more appointments than I made. I also managed to misplace my temporary retainer for a day in between surgeries, and I swear my teeth shifted back in that day, just before getting my final faux tooth affixed.

Good ol’ wikipedia put me at ease, largely from this single point:

The most widely accepted and successful implant today is the osseointegrated implant, based on the discovery by Swedish Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark that titanium can be successfully fused into bone when osteoblasts grow on and into the rough surface of the implanted titanium. This forms a structural and functional connection between the living bone and the implant.

Nuts! Apparently bone loves titanium. Whodathunkit? This might explain why the rest of my teeth have fallen apart due to my hippie aversion of fluoride and my patented “speed brush” technique, honed since childhood, while my titanium supertooth stands strong (albeit ugly).

With the wonders of photoshop, I have created a scientifically accurate prediction of what i would have looked like minus supertooth:

wait, that’s not it… lemme try again:

nate beaty if he never got implants

Not too bad.