The placement of dental implants nowadays involves some of the most cutting-edge technologies in the world; the technological advancements are responsible for the success and ease of dental implant methods that are now being used in patients worldwide. However, it is also important to get to know even a brief dental implant history, to be able to appreciate how far the technology has gone to where it is in present times.
Getting to Know the History of Dental Implants
Dental implants, or at the very least the concept of implants, were shown to be used by the Mayan Civilization around 600 AD. An excavated jaw bone that is believed to belong to a Mayan woman showed three pieces of shells (which were shaped to resemble natural teeth) embedded into sockets where natural teeth were missing. The Egyptians were also known to use shells, ivory, and even bones from animals to replace missing teeth; it is believed that the method for placing these teeth replacement was to hammer the material (shells, bone, or ivory) directly into the patients gums.
Fast-forward to the 1700s, the time when human teeth started to become the replacement for another persons missing teeth. The overall method was generally unsuccessful, since the recipients immune system may have various reactions to the human tooth that was meant to replace his missing tooth. During the 1800s, metals such as gold, platinum, and other metal alloys were being experimented on to provide solutions for missing teeth; these materials were being placed directly into the sockets where teeth have recently been extracted from. The results of these methods were generally unsuccessful as well.
In 1952, a highly significant breakthrough for modern dental implantology happened. A Swedish orthopaedic surgeon, Per-Ingvar Brånemark, was studying the properties of bone healing and regeneration when he discovered that the metal titanium can successfully adhere and integrate with human bone tissue. This earned Brånemark the honor of being called the Father of Modern Implantology.
The year 1965 is considered to be the year when the Birth of Modern Dental Implants happened. This was the year when Dr. Brånemark first used a titanium dental implant into the jaw bone of a human volunteer. With the success of the first titanium dental implant, the process of studying the implantation of titanium into human bone for missing teeth options was started in earnest and with more depth and intensity.
Since the ancient times, there have been countless advances with regards to the technologies used in dental implants, and in addressing missing teeth concerns. The evolution of dental implant technology makes it possible for people nowadays to enjoy the benefits of dental implants that are highly effective, long-lasting, and which can be placed with minimal discomfort and inconvenience to the patient.
Missing Teeth Options Today
There are a number of missing teeth options available today, with each option having the goal of replacing the form and function of teeth that are lost.
Dental Implants Dental implants are titanium screws that are surgically embedded into the jaw bone, and will then serve as a base where tooth restorations (such as a dental crown) will be attached to. These implants effectively replace the form and function of missing teeth.
Removable Dentures Can be full (to replace a full arch of missing teeth) or partial (used to replace several missing teeth that form a part of the full arch). Dentures can be removed whenever necessary (for example, for cleaning purposes); however, since they are not permanently attached to the jaw bone, they may have a tendency to move around and cause discomfort to the one wearing them.
Dental Bridges Also called fixed partial dentures, dental bridges are a series of dental crowns that will replace the form and function of several missing teeth. A dental bridge is permanently attached to the remaining natural teeth, which surround the area where tooth are missing.