If you think teeth are about as interesting as listening to your grandfather talk about his new backyard project, you’re not alone. A lot of people mistakenly think dentistry is a snooze, but that’s probably because they haven’t heard about the surprising history of dental implants. Well, hold onto your hats — your cosmetic dentist in Melbourne, Dr. Ronald E. Richardson, shares the story behind the evolution of the leading tooth replacement option in this week’s blog post!
Dental Implants Round 1: Shells, Bones, and Animal Teeth
Tooth loss has plagued humanity since the beginning of time. For centuries (literally), we’ve been trying to fills gaps in the smile with something resembling dental implants, which replace the missing tooth crown as well as its supportive root.
Mayan skulls dating back to 600 A.D. provide evidence of seashells and carved stones implanted into jaw bones. Other discoveries show animal teeth were occasionally used as well. It turns out they were really onto something with these early attempts — some of these primitive implants did actually fuse together with the jaw.
A Crew of Rabbits and an Accidental Discovery
Over time, attempts at implant dentistry continued without a ton of success — that is, until the middle of the last century. While studying healing processes in a bunch of rabbits, Swedish physician Per-Ingvar Brånemark made an accidental discovery. He noted that pieces of titanium had actually grown together with the rabbits’ bone tissue, meaning titanium could make an anchor for artificial teeth. While the Mayans had actually already achieved the same effect centuries before, Dr. Brånemark identified it and called the phenomenon osseointegration. He became known as the father of implant dentistry for the discovery — and that’s when dental implants got their real start.
Today’s Dental Implants
Dental implants have rapidly improved since the discovery of osseointegration in 1952. Further advances in bone scanning technology, anesthesia, sedation, and others mean the procedure for dental implants is more comfortable, efficient, and effective than ever. In fact, today’s dental implant procedures have a success rate of over 98%. Compare that to dental implants in their first iteration — or even those used in the first part of the 1900s, when blade dental implants were a real risk — and you’ll see what a dramatic evolution they’ve made.
Dr. Richardson is creating beautiful smiles with dental implants in Melbourne. As a member of the American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics, he’s a true expert in the placement and restoration of implants. Whether you are missing a single tooth, a few teeth, or if you’ve lost an entire row in the upper or lower jaw, Dr. Richardson can determine whether or not you’re a candidate and provide a personalized implant solution for your smile.
Questions? Contact Us Today!
If you would like to learn more about dental implants, including whether or not you can benefit from this comprehensive tooth replacement, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Dr. Richardson’s office. Request an appointment today!