The History of Dental Implants
At Lake Sammamish Family Dentistry, we offer dental implants as a treatment for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants provide an incredible alternative to bridges and dentures. They are a unique treatment that involves the surgical placement of small titanium rods into your jawbone. The bone fuses to the posts, stabilizing them within your jaw. This treatment has quickly become one of the most popular options today and provides several significant benefits over traditional methods for tooth replacement. We tend to think of dental implants as a modern treatment for tooth loss, but they have a much longer history.
Early Dental Implants
Dental implants are not a new concept. While the use of titanium posts to support replacement teeth is a fairly modern idea, the use of placing another material into the jawbone to replace missing teeth has been around for centuries. 4,000 years ago, ancient China used bamboo pegs for replacing missing teeth. Other remains dating back several thousand years have also been found around the world with implants, but many of these implants were inserted into the jaw after death. In 1931, an archaeologist discovered the mandible of a young Mayan woman with carved seashell and bone in place of a tooth. At first, the implant was thought to be placed after death. In 1970, however, it was found her bone had fused to the implant, demonstrating that it had been placed while she was still alive. Other remains around the world have been found with a variety of different materials replacing missing teeth, including gold wire in Egyptian mummies, ivory in Middle Eastern skeletons, and iron in a Roman soldier.
The implants that are used today are the result of a discovery made by Swedish orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark. In the 1950’s Brånemark was researching bone healing and regeneration. Part of his research involved implanting a titanium cylinder in the femur of a rabbit. Later, when he went to remove the cylinder, he found that the bone had begun fusing to it. This discovery sparked further research and eventually led to the development of dental implants. He placed the first dental implants in 1965. Brånemark did not stop there. He continued his research and development, eventually entering into a partnership with Bofors AB. This company, now called Nobel Industries, helped him to develop and market his products. In 1981, Bofors AB created Nobelpharma, which was founded to focus solely on dental implants. This company is now known as Nobel Biocare, and it is the industry leader in dental implant products.
Continuing Research and Development
Since the placement of the first dental implants, plenty of new developments and improvements have been, and continue, to be made. Implants today are now available in many different sizes. The posts are textured to help improve fusion and stability. There is even research into alternatives to titanium. If you are missing teeth, dental implants can help. For more information about dental implants, and to find out if they are right for you, call Lake Sammamish Family Dentistry today at (425) 270-1075 to schedule your consultation.