Today, dentists around the world extol dental implants as the absolute best form of tooth replacement because implants mimic the structure of natural teeth. They are therefore incredibly sturdy, and then even help to prevent jawbone deterioration. Like most great things, however, dental implants have not always been the marvel that they are today. In this blog post, we will briefly discuss how this treatment has evolved over the years.
The Advent of Titanium Alloy Implants
While dental implants might seem like a relatively new type of dental treatment, they actually have ancient origins. Researchers have found evidence that primitive cultures tried to replace teeth by embedding things like carved stones and seashells into the jawbone!
In the 19th century and early 20th century, researchers tried out a variety of materials for dental implants. For example, they used pure gold, gold alloys, silver, and porcelain. Their experiments failed mostly because such materials do not adhere well to the surrounding bone.
Today, most dental implants are made out of a titanium alloy. In the 1950s, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon discovered that titanium has the remarkable ability to fuse with the bone around it. That makes it the perfect material to use for prosthetic tooth roots. A few decades later, in the 1970s, titanium dental implants began to be widely available.
The Shape of Dental Implants
At first, dental implants featured a smooth structure. Today, though, most of them more closely resemble a screw. Why the change? Simply put, because the process of osseointegration (bone bonding with titanium) is faster with a roughened surface. Plus, a screw-like implant has a greater overall surface area than a smooth implant, and more bone-to-implant contact promotes the strongest bond possible.
Modern Dental Implant Technology
Dental implants themselves has evolved, and so have the techniques and technology used to place them. The specialists who insert implants into the bone can use a variety of remarkable tools, such as CBCT machines, to precisely plan where the implants should go in order to maximize their chances of long-term success.
Additionally, various approaches to implant placement have evolved. For example, All-on-4 treatments can use as few as four prosthetic tooth roots to support an entire arch of replacement teeth. All-on-4 has been around since the late 1990s.
What Does It All Mean for You?
The many years of research into dental implants mean that this tooth replacement solution is one of the most reliable ways to rebuild lost dentition. In fact, implants have a success rate of well over 90%! If your dentist recommends that you receive them, you can commit to the procedure with complete confidence.
Meet the Implant Dentist
Dr. James Kalina is a highly trained, highly experienced dentist in Mankato. He works alongside local specialists to provide comprehensive dental implant treatment. If you are curious about this form of tooth replacement, he would be happy to answer your questions during a personalized consultation. Contact us at 507-625-2021 to learn more about how our team can serve you.