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Tooth loss is one of the most damaging oral health problems. Sadly, it is also a pretty common dental complication. Fortunately, when tooth loss does occur, there are multiple treatment options for patients to consider.
At Dr. Prachi Sontakke’s office, we offer dental implants, which is the most effective tooth replacement treatment. Dental implants are small titanium screws that fuse with the patient’s jawbone to provide strong and stable support for a full range of dental restorations.
But, it took centuries to establish and perfect dental implant treatment. Considering the long history of dental implants, patients at our dental practice should consider themselves lucky to be able to benefit from this revolutionary tooth loss treatment.
Ancient Tooth Loss Remedies
While dental implants may be a relatively new innovation in the field of dental treatment, tooth loss certainly is not. There is ample evidence that tooth loss was a concern for those living in ancient civilizations. There is also evidence that shows attempts were made to address this problem.
Early forms of tooth loss treatment varied based on where and when a person resided, but some ancient tooth replacement options included bamboo, bones, human teeth, animal teeth, and various metals.
Over the centuries, people gained a better understanding of oral health and dental practices advanced. Still, for hundreds of years, people tried many dental implant materials and designs without finding the ideal solution.
The main problems were a lack of stability and the body’s rejection of foreign objects. It wasn’t until 1952 that an orthopedic surgeon stumbled upon the process of osseointegration.
Per-Ingvar Brånemark was conducting a study on blood flow and bone healing when he placed a titanium cylinder in a rabbit bone. When the study was over and he went to remove the cylinder, he found that it was not possible. The rabbit bone had grown around the titanium, essentially making it a permanent part of the bone.
Though the discovery of the osseointegration process was not the intent of the study, Dr. Brånemark recognized how this fusion could be beneficial in multiple fields of medicine, including dental treatment.
The First Dental Implant
The discovery of osseointegration was a vital event in the history of dental implant treatment. It was hypothesized that this same fusion process could be used to hold a metal screw, or implant, in place to act as an artificial tooth root.
In 1965, the first dental implant was placed in a human volunteer. The procedure was a success, and the dental implant design and technique quickly evolved and improved from there.
Today’s dental implant is a tiny titanium screw that is surgically placed within the jawbone. After giving the patient time to heal (and allowing osseointegration to occur), this screw is attached to a small metal abutment, which then attaches to a dental restoration.
Dental implants can act as an anchor for a dental crown, dental bridge, or dentures. All of these restorations are more comfortable and secure thanks to the support of the dental implant.