History of Dental Implants
The use of dental implants in some form surprisingly has a history that spans thousands of years and multiple cultures. The goal to replace missing teeth had a long history until it finally reached the place today of a tooth that looks, feels and functions as a natural tooth while also being biocompatible, firm and natural feeling. The evolution of the dental implant began with the same desire we have today, replacing missing teeth, and the steps that ancient people took helped us achieve it.
Ancient Forms of Dental Implants
Our teeth are important. This is a fact that everyone can agree on, including people who lived thousands of years ago. Missing teeth is problematic for chewing, speaking, and even our jaw health. Scientists who study ancient civilizations have found a remarkable discovery across multiple periods of time and multiple locations, the replacement of teeth. Humans have tried to replace missing teeth using a variety of objects. Scientists have found skulls with embedded shells, bamboo, wood, and metal in jawbones to serve as new teeth. It was less surprising to find these embedded objects; it was more surprising to find the reaction from the body in response to these items.
Scientists found the bone around these embedded materials had actually begun to grow up and around them. This continued bone growth began the early studies in healing bone and the idea of dental implants.
Early 20th Century Bone Repair
In the early 1900’s doctors began to experiment with repairing bone using metal. The problem was finding the right metal to use. They needed metal that was biocompatible, light weight, and strong. Over a few decades, it was discovered that titanium was the right metal for the job. Our bone material was willing to grow and heal over the titanium bonding the two firmly together.
This healing process is known as osseointegration. The term “osseo” means bone, and to integrate means making separate pieces into one. We simply needed to create a device to elevate our own amazing natural ability to heal. Doctors use titanium to make repairs to bone all over the human skeleton today.
Dental Implants Modernized and Perfected
The first modern version of a titanium dental implant was placed in 1965, by an orthopedic surgeon named Branemark. The device was a success, and with time improvements have been made to significantly improve in the techniques and placement of the implant for tooth replacement. Modern dental implants are now made with either titanium or ceramic. They have a threaded end designed to capture a large amount of bone and create a large surface area for bone to grow over. With computer guidance, we are able to plan the treatment and place the implant with precision. With more than five decades of research, we know that dental implants are so successful, that they have the longest lifespan of any other dental restoration.
We invite you to learn more about dental implants and why restoring missing teeth is important to your dental health. Even your ancient ancestors recognized the importance of having teeth.
If you are interested in getting dental implants, contact Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery at (980) 332-7990 today to schedule a consultation appointment.