Although it might be believed that dental implants are a relatively new introduction into dental reconstruction techniques, the history of implant treatment stretches back much further in time, and ancient civilizations would use fragments of seashells, carved pebbles and stones, and other materials to replace missing teeth. In later times, cadavers were often scavenged and teeth removed to be used as replacements.
However, modern dental implant treatment means that an implant dentist doesn’t require to resort to such extreme methods, and in 1952 a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark discovered that a small titanium object he had placed into a rabbits’ leg bone in order to study its healing process had fused solid to the bone matter, preventing its removal.
The process of fusing titanium with bone is known as ‘osseointegration’ and forms the foundation of today’s tooth implant treatment.
It wasn’t until 1965 that Professor Brånemark implanted the first titanium dental implant into a human volunteer, but soon afterwards he began to publish research on the use of titanium in dental implant treatments, before deciding to commercialize and market the method for general use to the public in 1978.
Dental implants originally were used to treat cases where all of a patient’s teeth were missing, and who were unable to wear or tolerate the use of dentures. As teeth become lost, the effect on gum tissue and jaw bone results in the erosion and loss of tissue, and so the stability of dentures would become compromised.
Today, dental implants can be used as a restoration method for one, or many, teeth; the bonding of titanium and bone allows for a strong base on which the implant dentist places a porcelain crown that can be shaped and shaded to match the patient’s natural teeth, giving a natural-looking finish while retaining all the functions of the original tooth, including bite strength and alignment.
Add in the fact dental implants require no additional special care, and can be maintained easily as part of an existing dental hygiene program, it is little wonder they have grown in popularity in recent years.
To learn more about the benefits of implant dentistry, contact the Las Vegas office of Dr. Carlos Letelier to schedule your professional consultation today.