At PGA Dentistry, we enjoy serving our clients to the best of our ability. No matter what procedure or treatment you seek, we have the experience and the certification to meet the challenge. For our patients in Palm Beach Gardens, FL we encourage them to become more knowledgeable of the treatments they seek, including dental implants. And while we go on and on about the advantages of dental implants, here we’ll dispense a little history of the dental implant instead.
Dental implants have actually been present in our human history for a very long time. In fact, primitive dental implants were found on skeletons dating back to ancient times in both Egypt and France. Tooth loss due to tooth decay can be found as far back as our Stone Age ancestors, so it makes sense that later descendants would attempt to fashion replacement teeth.
In Egypt, a skeleton was found to have a replacement tooth-shaped from a piece of shell, while an ancient skull from Algeria was found to have a tooth constructed from bone. In France, a tomb of Celtic elite was found with heavily decorated skeletons, one of which had a tooth replaced with an iron pin. Since the rest of the skeleton’s teeth were in relatively good shape, it was theorized that it was lost due to blunt force.
As you can see, it’s been part of our history to show some care and maintenance to our teeth. Regardless of the primitive use of cleaning (if any at all), it’s interesting to find that our ancestors attempted to replace their teeth.
The Discovery of Osseointegration
A dentist molds the perfect crown for a patient’s dental implant. Modern day dental implants came about quite differently. While the field was young and not very respected, it was thanks to a Swedish scientist that the idea of osseointegration for dental implants came about.
Per-Ingvar Brånemark and his team were testing titanium implants in animal leg bones in the early 1950s. When they went back to remove the titanium implants from the legs, it was discovered that the bone had begun to grow around the implant, making removal difficult. This difficulty increased as time went on.
Brånemark dubbed the fusion of titanium to the bone as “osseointegration,” and pitched a new approach to dental implants. At first the new method of using titanium for dental implants was not well-received, but the trend grew more popular and became widely accepted. It was the missing piece that ultimately made dental implants successful.
This new fusion, osseointegration, secured the dental implant to the bone as a viable tooth replacement. When the implant is embedded, it stimulates the bone to weave fibers around the implant and bond it closely. It also prevents surrounding teeth from shifting out of place to compensate for the empty space. It’s an advantage that our ancient ancestors were unaware of.