In the olden days, losing a tooth might have meant living without the ability to chew or talk properly—or letting an ancient dentist implant a mediocre false tooth made of rock or wood into your mouth. Archeologists have found ancient remains fitted with all different kinds of innovative implants, ranging from pig bone to iron rods.
In fact, bamboo dental implants have been found in the mouths of people who lived 4000 years ago in China, and seashells have been found embedded in ancient skulls of people who lived around the turn of the century in Honduras. In the late 1800’s, doctors had already started experimenting with porcelain teeth mounted onto platinum discs and inserted into the mouth, although these early experiments usually ended in failure.
Osseointegration: an Accidental Discovery
One of the biggest challenges for dentists experimenting with early dental implants was osseointegration failure, or the failure of the implant to fuse to a person’s natural jaw tissue. Fortunately, a solution for this problem was discovered on accident by an osteopaedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Bränemark in 1952.
Bränemark was studying healing and regeneration in rabbits, and he inserted a titanium post through a rabbit’s leg to see what would happen. To his surprise, the post couldn’t be removed a few weeks later when he tried to take it out. He realized that the bone had integrated with the titanium, and that the technology could be used in dentistry applications. In 1965, Bränemark placed the first dental implant in a live human volunteer.
The Evolution of Modern Dental Implants
Although Per-Ingvar Bränemark is considered the founder of modern dental implants, many technological advancements have made implants better than ever before. New implants used titanium posts with roughened surfaces, which tend to bond better with existing bone tissue. Implants are also much more realistic looking than traditional varieties, and these days, implants are nearly indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
Advancements in porcelain composites and abutments have made implants stronger and more durable than ever before, and periodontists today have a greater understanding of the placement, maintenance, and problems that can occur with implants. In fact, implant dentists in Fishers go to school for an additional three years to learn more about dental implant surgery and protocols. As one of the best periodontists in Fishers, Dr. Edwards can give you the smile of your dreams. Make an appointment for an implant consultation today!