History of Dental Implants
The history of dental implants has overall been one of success, studies this past fifty years has been learning the right materials to use and optimal surgical implantation for the recreation of missing teeth and their roots. It has been a continuing science and one that has evolved. Dental implant materials and surgical placement today has record levels of success and in fact, has the most successful long-term restoration rates of any dental procedure. Working with our crew at Myers Dental, we can walk you through the process and create a treatment plan which may involve dental implants. This is the only way to truly restore missing teeth.
People attempting to replace teeth is a centuries-long tale. Archeologists have found skeletal remains that are thousands of years old with various materials implanted into the jaws. They have seen teeth made of shell, rock, bamboo, wood, and metal. It didn’t surprise archeologists that people would try, what surprised them is that the jawbone showed indications of growing and healing around the various devices.
The jawbone being able to heal around a device fascinated scientists. This healing is known today as osseointegration. The term osseo referring to bone and integrating meaning to take in, or bond. Our bone continuously heals when it is being used. The bone that is not used will conserve energy with atrophy. When a tooth is lost, that area of bone is no longer being used, and so it will atrophy in that area, this may not be noticeable or visible with the loss of one tooth, but after losing two, or more, the effects can visibly alter your face shape.
Surgeons began using metal for the repair of bone in the early 20th Century. They repaired hips, knees, shoulders and more. The goal was to find metal that was biocompatible, meaning the body would not reject it and still be lightweight enough not to be burdensome to the patient. In the 1940’s surgeons began to use titanium. Titanium fit the needs of what the surgeons wanted; it was both biocompatible and lightweight while also being strong and durable.
It was in the 1950’s that Leonard Linkow inserted a titanium post into the jaw. He then attached artificial teeth to the post. In 1965, Dr. Brånemark observed studies that were done on rabbits of inserting titanium and found months later that they were unable to remove the metal, it has integrated into the rabbit’s bone. Dr. Brånemark placed his first titanium dental implant into a mouth in 1965. With the knowledge that it can be done, studies then continued, they observed how durable the implantation was, how many teeth it can be used to replace and the right length and diameter for replacement.
The studies of Dr. Brånemark and others concluded that dental implants were highly successful. Today, surgical repair of bone using titanium is a standard in surgery; both in dental care and throughout the skeletal frame and with an over 95% success rate, it is an incredible advancement in dentistry.