The History of Dental Implants
Dental implants are a unique treatment for replacing missing teeth that provide you with an incredible alternative to bridges and dentures. This particular treatment involves the use of small titanium posts, which are surgically placed into your jawbone, to provide support for ceramic restorations. The bone then fuses to these posts, turning them into stable, secure roots. Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery provides different types of implants to meet many different types of needs. Dental implants are often thought to be a recent development. While this is true of the implants we use today, dental implants have a much longer, and very interesting, history.
The Earliest Implants
Dental implants have a rather long history that goes back thousands of years. Many of the implants discovered in ancient skeletons show that the implants were placed after death, and they are believed to have been placed to prepare bodies for the afterlife.
One of the most interesting discoveries of early dental implants came in 1931. At this time, the mandible of a young Mayan woman, dated to around 600 AD, was discovered with carved bone and bits of seashell in her jaw where a tooth used to be. At first, the implant was thought to be placed after death, just like other types of implants. A few decades later, however, further examination of the mandible showed that the bone had begun to fuse with the implant, demonstrating that it had been placed while the young woman was still alive.
The Start of Modern Implants
The development of modern implants began with an accidental discovery made in the 1950s. During this time, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, Per-Ingvar Brånemark, was researching bone healing and bone regeneration. During his research, he implanted a titanium cylinder into the femur of a rabbit. Later, when he attempted to remove the cylinder, he found that the bone had begun to fuse to the cylinder, rendering it impossible to remove.
This discovery led to further research and development. Over the next few years, Brånemark used both animal and human test subjects. Eventually, he developed the first modern titanium dental implants and placed them successfully in 1965.
Continued Development of Modern Implants
Research and development of dental implants were not completed at the successful placement of the first implants. Brånemark eventually forged a partnership with Bofors AB, now called Nobel Industries. This company helped him to develop and market his implant products. Eventually, Bofors AB formed Nobelpharma, now called Nobel Biocare. This company, which is now the industry leader in dental implants, focuses solely on the development of dental implants.
The Future of Dental Implants
Since their development, dental implants have undergone numerous developments, all of which have helped to improve the stability and success of the treatment. These developments have also helped to make implants available to more patients. Today, there is even research into alternative materials. Zirconia implants, also called ceramic implants, are a metal-free option that has made implants available to patients with metal sensitivities and those who are not comfortable with the idea of placing metal in their mouth.
Dental implants are a unique treatment for replacing missing teeth that provide you with several amazing benefits. Call Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today at (610) 435-6161 for more information and to schedule your consultation.