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Where Did Dental Implants Come From?

Posted on: Friday, February 21st, 2014

Did you know that two out of three Americans have at least one missing tooth? As we grow older, our oral health becomes more vulnerable and factors such as periodontal disease can easily cause tooth loss. Dentures were traditionally the tooth replacement option of choice but dental implants have taken over in the past 30 years. While dental implants have only recently become a popular procedure, its historical use goes back as far as ancient Egyptian times.

The History of Dental Implants
To consider the present day implant as a modern invention, without a long, successful history would be a mistake. One of the first recorded uses of dental implants dates as far back as 5,650 years ago. In January 2003, a shell carved into the shape of a tooth (an incisor, to be exact) was found in an Egyptian cemetery. Because the tooth contained a full sized root, scientists believe the fake tooth was used as a dental implant, inserted into the jawbone.

While ancient forms of implants were made from shells, the modern version is made of biocompatible titanium. P.I. Branemark , a Swedish surgeon, was the first to experiment with this material in 1952. However, instead of using titanium in the mouth, he initially studied its use for knee and hip replacements. Branemark eventually tried using titanium in tooth replacement procedures and successfully invented the first dental implant. He commercialized this procedure in 1981. Since then, dental implants have replaced dentures and bridges with more than 7 million implants placed worldwide.

Dental Implants Today
Today, implants offer patients a more effective and natural tooth replacement option than dentures. The look, feel and function of implants are so much more reliable and long lasting than dentures.

The process begins by drilling the biocompatible titanium “root” into the jawbone. This prosthetic root is shaped like a screw and fuses naturally with the bone over time. Once the gums have healed and the screw is fused with bone, the dentist will place an attachment site onto the tip of the implant. This attachment site is where the prosthetic tooth will be permanently placed.

While the procedure is lengthy and invasive, it is cheaper and more effective in the long run. Implants will not cause loss of jaw bone over time like dentures can. Instead, the implant tricks the body into thinking that there is still a tooth present and this stimulates jawbone growth. Dental implants can last for life when cared for properly.

Dental Implants at Fairfield Smiles By Design
At Fairfield Smiles By Design, Dr. Cuevas is an experienced prosthodontic who can place quality dental implants. He has years of experience performing this procedure and is trusted by patients from all over the area. For more information on dental implants in Fairfield, CT visit our office or call us today at (203) 254-0545.

Photo Credit: Identity Station