Today, dental implants look so natural and feel so comfortable hardly anyone can tell the difference between an implant and a natural tooth. This is largely due to modern advances in dental technology and materials. However, dental implants have a long history upon which these advances are based.
Exactly how long is that history? According to archeological findings, remains uncovered in China that date back some 4000 years have bamboo pegs tapped into the jawbone to replace teeth. In Egypt, mummies from some 2000 years ago have pegs made of precious metals. And in Honduras, the remains of a Mayan woman who lived around 600 A.D. were found to have pieces of shell embedded in her jaw to replace three missing teeth.
Contemporary history for dental implants today is considered to have begun in 1913 with the Greenfield implant system, also called the Greenfield crib or basket. This implant, which was attached to a gold crown, demonstrated the advantages of osseointegration (osseo=bone and integration=fusing with) and functioned for quite a few years.
As often happens with advances in health care, the discovery of titanium as the metal of choice for surgery—oral surgery and otherwise—was accidental. In 1952, an orthopedic surgeon placed a titanium rod in a bone to study how the bone would heal. When he tried to remove the rod, he couldn’t. Thus, the propensity for titanium to fuse with bone formed the foundation of modern dental implants.
Dr. Ronald E. Richardson, the cosmetic dentist Melbourne, FL, residents turn to for complete and beautiful smiles, uses dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth as well as to support implant retained dentures. During a simple oral surgery, Dr. Richardson embeds a small titanium post in your jawbone. The post is strategically positioned to take advantage of maximum bone density. If x-rays indicate that there is insufficient bone tissue, then we will talk to you about your options, which may include bone graft surgery.
With time, the post and bone fuse to create a solid foundation for the tooth restoration that Dr. Richardson will attach to the implant. This restoration, which is placed once you’ve completely healed, is usually a porcelain crown.
Alternatively, dental implants can be used to secure dentures firmly in place. Depending on your individual needs, Dr. Richardson will recommend snap-on dentures, implant bar dentures or fixed dentures. Regardless of which is most appropriate for your case, you can be sure your dentures won’t slip, click or fall out when you eat or speak. For some of our patients who are already denture wearers, we may be able to alter your existing dentures with an implant attachment.
Call Our Office Today
If dental implants helped ancient peoples enjoy the benefits of a complete a smile, then they will likely do the same for you. To find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, schedule an appointment with Dr. Richardson in Melbourne, FL. We welcome patients from Palm Bay, West Melbourne, Satellite Beach, Suntree, and beyond.