While many people believe that dental implants offer a relatively new way to replace missing teeth, the truth is that dental implant treatment is not a recent invention. In ancient times, people would use bits of seashells, carved pebbles, stones, and other materials to replace missing teeth. Later, teeth were removed from cadavers and used as tooth replacements.
Nowadays, dentists don’t use such crude techniques to replace missing teeth. In the early 1950’s, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Per-Invar Brånemark found that placing a small titanium object into a rabbit’s leg bone helped the healing process as the titanium piece fused to the bone itself, thus preventing the removal of the animal’s leg.
The process of fusing titanium with bone is called ‘osseointegration,’ and that’s what’s at the foundation of today’s modern dental implant treatment. In the mid 1960’s, that same Swedish surgeon successfully implanted the first titanium dental implant into a human’s jawbone that led him to eventually commercialize and market the procedure for general public use.
A dental implant is a screw-like structure made of titanium, one of the few metals that can fuse with bone. The implant dentist surgically inserts the implant into the jawbone wherein a healing process takes place over the course of a few weeks. Then when the healing is complete, an artificial tooth top or crown is secured to the top of the implant to complete the procedure.
In days’ past, dental implants were solely used to replace all missing teeth in patients not willing or able to tolerate wearing dentures. Now, dental implants are routinely being used to replace one, several, or all missing teeth. The dental implants in use today look, feel, and function just like natural teeth, making them a very popular way to replace missing teeth.
Once the dental implant procedure is complete, the patient can easily maintain the implants by simply following a basic dental hygiene routine. This ease-of-maintenance is one of the reasons dental implants are more popular than dentures, as dentures require more care, tend to slip out of place, and can be uncomfortable to wear. With so many benefits associated with dental implants, it’s really no wonder they’ve become a very popular way to replace missing teeth.
If you’d like to find out if you’re a candidate for dental implants, contact The Center for Oral Surgery in Las Vegas to set up a consultation.