Ancient Precursors To Dental Implants
It may be surprising to learn that many ancient civilizations had precursors to dental implants - rudimentary tooth restoration methods. For example, ancient Chinese culture developed peg-like, bamboo false teeth over 4,000 years ago. Copper tooth replacement appliances are attested in Egypt as early as 1000 B.C. And some other cultures used iron, jade, or even sea shell material to replace missing teeth.
And throughout Ancient and Medieval times, teeth from animals and other human beings were commonly used in attempts to restore a lost tooth. All too often, however, these attempts resulted in infection or in rejection of the foreign substance by the patient's body.
Progress Toward Dental Implants
Starting in the 1700s, experimental research was undertaken by scientists interested in advancing tooth restoration methods. Gold, platinum, and various alloys were tried out as possible dental implant materials. Results were poor, however. The body would reject one material after another, and some proved dangerous.
Additionally, in order for an implant to work, the implant rod must successfully fuse to the bone in your jaw. This is called "osseointegration," and it wasn't until 1952 that a suitable metal was found that would safely, firmly fuse to human bone tissue.
An accidental discovery in 1952 showed that titanium would integrate safely and permanently to a rabbit bone. Soon, this led to the first titanium-root dental implant being placed into a human jawbone in 1965. This quickly led to more refined implants and accompanying techniques.
Today, titanium implants attach to the bone and are capped with realistic-looking, fully functional dental crowns. Alternatively, you can attach permanent dentures or dental bridges to implant rods.
Dental Implants Are Today's Top Tooth Restoration Option
There are many advantages to today's implants. First of all, you can get them installed in just one day if you meet certain basic oral health criteria. That saves you time and makes it easier to deal with any "dental-phobia" you may have!
Secondly, implants have a 99% success rate (98% with Teeth In One Day), so that there is little risk involved. Third, they can last for decades, and often for a lifetime. You probably will never need to deal with your lost tooth problem again after getting implants. The teeth that sit on top of the implants are subject to wear and traumatic damage. Often, replacement crowns can be placed on the same implant, as long as it is healthy.
Fourth, dental implants are strong, allowing for a firm bite. They feel and function naturally when you bite, chew, and speak. They are capped with tooth-colored dental crowns. In sum, they closely mimic your lost natural tooth in almost every way you can think of (except they can't ever get cavities!).
Dental implants were once a dream that seemed unattainable to dental practitioners in previous decades. Today, they are so common as to be almost routine. Your teeth are valuable to you, and it's worthwhile to invest in restoring your original smile. Implants are the most effective way to make that happen.
If you have any questions about how implants work or whether they are right for you, feel free to talk to periodontist Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik in Ormond Beach, Florida, today!