Replacing damaged or missing teeth with dental implants has become quite a common practice in recent decades. With the sophistication of technology, the process has become extremely easy and convenient too. However, dental implants aren’t exactly a modern concept. The practice has been around for thousands of years, across various civilizations around the world.
The evolution of dental implants
The techniques for embedding dental implants haven’t always been the same. The process has undergone significant evolution through the centuries. Here is a brief overview of how dental implants have evolved:
- Back in 2500 BC, ancient Egyptians used to stabilize teeth affected by severe periodontitis using gold ligature wire. By then, the Chinese were already replacing missing teeth using pegs carved from Bamboo.
- Around 1000 BC, the Egyptians further evolved their technique and adopted dental implants similar to the Chinese. However, the Egyptians used precious metals to create these implants and pegged them into the jawbone.
- The Etruscans, or Ancient Italians, made significant developments around 500 BC too. They carved fake teeth using oxen bones and used gold bands.
- Around 300 BC, the Phoenicians started using gold wires to stabilize fake teeth that they carved from ivory, effectively creating a dental bridge.
- The Mayans deserve a special mention when it comes to dental implants. Made of seashells, the Mayan dental implants were somewhat similar to modern-day implants. Radiographs have developed the development of bone structures around these implants.
- During the period between the 1500s and the 1700s, the Europeans started transplanting teeth taken from cadavers or the underprivileged. They also used a variety of materials to stabilize teeth in people suffering from periodontitis.
- In 1913, Dr. EJ Greenfield used gold to solder iridio-platinum and create a latticed cylinder. It was possible to implant the cylinder into a circular incision made in the jawbone.
- The credit for embedding the world’s first endosteal implant goes to Drs. Alvin and Moses Strock. They also found the first biocompatible metal for the purpose, using a chromium-cobalt alloy to make screws that could act as an anchor for the implants. The process was somewhat similar to that of hip replacements.
- The 1940s witnessed several major developments in the field of dental implants. Known as the Father of modern Implantology, Dr. Formiggini used stainless steel to create a post-type endosteal implant. This implant allowed the jawbone to grow into the metal. In the same decade, Dr. Raphael Chercheve creates spiral designs that made it easier to insert and fit dental implants, while Dr. Gustav Dahl came up with the subperiosteal implant.
- Cherchieve used cobalt and chromium to create a double-helical dental implant in the 1960s. It underwent further development in the hands of Dr. Giordano Muratoni, who threaded the internal shaft.
- Another name that is worthy of a special mention is Dr. P.Branemark’s. Back in 1952, he had accidentally discovered osseointegration while carrying out an experiment with rabbits. Using this knowledge, he developed titanium dental implants that integrated better with the bones. Eventually, he came up with zygomatic dental implants in the 1990s.
Since then, dental implants have undergone significant changes and developments. Attempts to shorten the osseointegration period are constantly on.
How reliable are modern dental implant procedures?
Thanks to the work of all the researchers and experts in this field, dental implantology has grown extremely sophisticated. Currently, dental implants have a success rate of 97%, with medications reducing the chances of any infections. As long as you get your dental implants embedded by skilled professionals at a reputed clinic, there shouldn’t be any reason to worry. All you have to do is find a dental clinic near you with a good track record.