As far back as 4,000 years, attempts have been made to find a substance that could be used to fill in the spaces left by missing teeth. Early dental implants were usually made out of wood, bone or ivory. These materials did not always fuse well with the jawbone and often became loose over time.
How Were Dental Implants Discovered?
In the late 1800s, a dentist named Paul Chamberland came up with the idea of using metal to make dental implants. His design was not very successful, however, because the metal did not bond well with the jawbone either.
In 1952, an orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Branemark was researching the microscopic healing of bony defects by studying the healing of rabbit's bone with microscopic titanium-made heads with lenses at the tips. Branemark photographed the bone's healing and later when he went to remove the microscopic heads, he couldn't as he had found that the titanium heads were biocompatible and had integrated into the bone. He found they were not rejected by the body's immune system like other earlier types of materials other people over the years had tried to use to fill missing teeth spaces.
This was the discovery of osseointegration (a direct structural and functional connection between ordered, living bone and the surface of a load-carrying implant). In 1965, Branemark placed his first titanium dental implant in a human patient's jaw and the success rate has been high ever since with today's modern technology and surgical techniques. Dental implants are now made of different types of materials such as zirconia and ceramic which some people prefer over metal for aesthetic reasons.
Are Dental Implants a Good Option for Missing Teeth?
If you're missing one or more teeth, then you may be considering dental implants as a way to replace them. Dental implants are a great option because they look and feel just like your natural teeth. They also don't require any special care; you can brush and floss them just like your regular teeth.
Today, dental implants are commonly used and can make the difference between someone having teeth and not having teeth. Dental implants are also a great option for individuals who cannot tolerate wearing dentures. They can also be used to replace individual missing teeth.
Dental implants have come quite a long way in recent years. The traditional approach taken by dentists attempting to repair teeth that were beyond the scope of typical, restorative dental procedures was to (essentially) try to fix the original tooth by any means necessary.
Dental Implant Advances
Fortunately, there have been a number of significant advances in dental implant technology that have changed the way that dentists deal with these extraordinary situations.
Dental implants can now be used on an individual basis, or even in combination to rehabilitate an entire mouth! A commonly-held misconception is that an implant is, invariably, more expensive than attempting to salvage the existing tooth.
However, there are quite a number of situations where the cost to restore a severely damaged tooth is significantly more expensive than an implant procedure.
If you have any questions about how dental implants could help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, please don’t hesitate to call our office!
Sources: Wikipedia, NIH