The History of Dental Implants
The Earliest Dental ImplantsDental implants have a rather long history dating back several thousand years. They have also been found in different cultures all around the world. The earliest types of dental implants have been found to have been placed after death with the belief that they were placed to make the body more presentable for the afterlife. One of the most intriguing discoveries was the mandible of a young Mayan woman. This mandible was found in 1931. It had carved bone and bits of shell where a tooth should have been. Originally, it was thought to have been placed after death, much like other forms of implants. However, in the 1970s, it was discovered that her bone had begun fusing to the fake tooth, demonstrating that it had been placed in her mouth while she was living.
The Discovery of Osseointegration and Modern ImplantsModern-day dental implants are the result of a discovery made in the 1950s. During this time, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon by the name of Per-Ingvar Brånemark was researching how bones heal and regenerate. At one point, he surgically implanted a piece of titanium into the femur of a rabbit. Later, when he tried to remove the cylinder, he found that the bone had begun fusing to it, and it could not be easily taken out. Brånemark had accidentally discovered the process of osseointegration.
This discovery turned into further research. Over the next few years, he used both animal and human subjects and eventually developed dental implants. The first implants were placed successfully in 1965. Even though surgery was successful, Brånemark did not stop there. He continued his research and development, eventually entering into a partnership with Bofors AB, a company now called Nobel Industries. This company helped him to manufacture and market his products. Later, Bofors AB founded Nobelpharma, now called Nobel Biocare. This company was founded to focus solely on dental implants. Today, over 7 million Brånemark implants have been placed.
The Future of Dental ImplantsEven today, more research continues to be conducted with the goal to further improve the reliability of dental implants, their strength, and their success. There is even currently research being done into materials other than the titanium alloy that is already widely used. The goal of developing implants made with alternative materials is to make treatment available to more patients suffering tooth loss.
If you are interested in learning more about dental implants, and finding out if they are the best possible solution for you, call Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center at (570) 323-1900 to schedule your consultation today.