Whether for fashion or function or both, men and women have been looking for a solution to missing teeth for at least 4,000 years. A recent article in US News & World Report on the evolution of dental implants talks about a Mayan architectural dig in which 1,500 year old jawbones were uncovered containing makeshift implants made of seashells and carved stones.
Prior to that, ancient Egyptian digs have found replacement teeth made of precious metals implanted into the jawbone. The earliest evidence of dental implants dates back 4,000 years to China where carved bamboo pegs were discovered tapped into the jawbone to replace missing teeth.
A lucky accident and the modern implant is born
In 1952, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, Per-Ingvar Branemark, was working on a study of bone healing and regeneration when he came across the earlier work of a Cambridge research group studying blood flow in rabbits using titanium. Branemark implanted his own titanium components into the femurs of rabbits for his study, but when he went to retrieve the titanium components to use in another application, he found they had fused to the neighboring bone and couldn’t be removed. He referred to the phenomenon as osseointegration and recognized the commercial applications of a metal that could fuse naturally to surrounding bone without soft tissue upset or infection. This fortunate accident became the basis for modern dental implants in use today.
Tens of millions of Americans suffer tooth loss
Most implant manufacturers now make what are known as root form implants or implants that are designed to be surgically implanted into the jawbone to provide the support structure for a single or multiple tooth implant. Titanium is used because it’s not only bio-compatible with the surrounding bone, but provides a very strong support for a tooth able to withstand the crushing force of chewing.
In our culture where patience is a rare virtue, advances in dental implants have tended to focus on how quickly a minor or major tooth loss can be remedied. One key advancement has been the use of rough surfaced titanium implants rather than the smooth surfaces formerly used. The rough surface increases the surface area that will bond to the bone cutting the time of osseointegration from six months to six weeks.
Screw threaded implants are also drastically reducing the amount of time needed to affix a replacement tooth onto the titanium post. With more refined site preparation and custom shaping of the implant, a tooth or set of teeth can actually be implanted securely the same day!
All-on-4 and All-on 6 dental implants
Not only can a single tooth be replaced quickly and easily the same day, dental implants can be joined together to form a support base for multiple teeth implants. Dental implants can also be used to anchor removable partial dentures in place with a snap mechanism that holds the dentures securely in place thus preventing any potentially embarrassing moments when eating, laughing, or talking.
There is a large portion of our population that has suffered tooth loss due to injury, disease, or a history of poor oral hygiene habits. There are remarkable solutions for those of us with major or total tooth loss called All-on-4 or All-on-6 same day implants, which can replace an entire upper or lower row of teeth with just four or six strategically placed implants.
One of the difficulties with conventional implants until recently has been that an implant was virtually impossible unless there was sufficient bone structure to support the implant. A bone graft would have to be initiated delaying the placement of the implants until the new bone tissue was fully matured. The All- on-4 or All-on-6 technology incorporates the latest 3-D imaging techniques to create the proper implantation angle to eliminate the need for expensive and time consuming bone grafts.
To learn more about dental implants and the many cosmetic and restorative dentistry services offered at Chelsea Dental Aesthetics, we invite you to call 347-773-2679 to arrange a consultation with Dr. David Blaustein.
We offer affordable payment plans through our financial partner, Care Credit, and can help you find the right option to fit into your budget goals.