Replicating the appearance and function of your own natural, lost teeth is not an easy task. Dentures and bridge restorations have seen moderate successes over the last decade or so, but they do come with their limitations. With advancements in technology within the dentistry industry, the introduction of dental implants have significantly changed the way that lost teeth can be replaced. Providing the same function as your natural tooth root, dental implants are natural-looking replacements for missing teeth.
A dental implant is a titanium post, which is small and sturdy, that acts as the root structure for a natural tooth. They are inserted into the upper or lower jaw bone where your natural tooth roots would normally be found. Once the titanium fuses with the bone and heals, the implant can then be used to support dental crowns and bridges. In addition to looking and functioning like natural teeth, dental implants are very durable and can last a lifetime. In terms of maintenance, they require the same as natural teeth, i.e. brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups.
As well as replacing single teeth, they can also replace multiple teeth which have been lost due to injury or disease.
Dental implants date back to the 1950s where they were developed in a laboratory in Lund, a university town, by Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark. The development was due to a “lucky” accident the professor had while carrying out bone grafting research. Much to his dismay, after the accident Dr. Brånemark discovered that it was impossible to recover any of the bone-anchored titanium microscopes he was using. The titanium had apparently fused irreversibly to the living bone tissue he was working on. This was a discovery which contradicted all scientific theory at the time.
The professor later went on to prove that under carefully controlled conditions, titanium could be structurally bonded to living bone with a very high degree of predictability, and without long-term soft tissue inflammation and rejection. Hence, the name “osseointegration” was coined which means the attachment of healthy bone to a titanium implant.
After this event, dental implants were born and in 1965 the first application of dental osseointegration was performed on an edentulous (toothless) patient. Dental implants have a 90% success rate and long-term studies are continuously showing improved success.
Since the first dental implants were developed in 1952, technology has taken huge a leap to provide us with the most modern solution for missing teeth. Dental implants are used to restore oral health, while at the same time enhancing confidence and hope who have previously suffered tooth loss.