Dental implant technology has developed considerably and current implants are stable, durable and comfortable. But they have not always been so successful. Have you ever wondered how modern implants have appeared? Dr. Ronald Trevisani, a trusted oral surgeon in Orlando, shares the evolution of dental implants.

PRIMITIVE FORMS OF TOOTH REPLACEMENT

Civilization has been taken part in the loss of tooth for thousands of years. Older “dental implants” 

were actually known fragments of seashells and carved stones, the ancient Mayans (dating back to 600 A.D.) used to insert in their jaws to replace their teeth. 

Archaeologists have discovered evidence that these shells and stones sometimes ‘fused’ with the jawbones to provide a stable base for chewing.

VARIOUS DESIGNS AND FRAMEWORKS

In the years after the Second World War, two dentists were looking for a tooth replacement solution for people who find it very difficult to afford conventional dentures. Dr. Norman Goldberg and Dr. Aron Gershkoff began to collaborate on the first successful sub-periosteal implant, which was placed under the flap in the gums which are in contact with the jawbone (not implanted in the bone). Complications were common with these types of implants and according to the studies low survival rates were recorded. The doctors were the founder of the American Academy for Implant Dentistry.

In the late 1960s, Dr. Irwin Small developed the transosseous implant in which the skeletal plate was placed below the skin in the mouth and tied to the other side with the posts threaded through the bone. Complications were frequent and the surgical setting was long and invasive.

Then Dr. Leonard Linkow developed a “blade implant” or endosseous implant. This implant included the attachment of a large blade with the grooves on the bones of the jaw for anchoring the prosthesis or other dental prostheses. The endosseous implant did not have a high rate of success and is known to cause infection.

A SIGNIFICANT DISCOVERY

It was then that an important discovery was made. Most of those things that contributed to the success of dental implants are the concept referred to as osseointegration – the process in which the bone connects to titanium. Thanks to this Swedish orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark, who is recognized as the father of modern implants, made a breakthrough discovery that titanium has the property that permits it to connect with the bone. In the midst of research studies, he realized that he could not remove the small titanium cylinder he put in his bones to study how the bone healed.

Dr. Brånemark treats the first patient in titanium dental implants in the mid-1960s struggling to recognize and incorporate the concept into scientific and academic communities. Finally, during the 1990s, his techniques gained the recognition they deserved.

Modern implants are made of high-quality materials and are made by experienced oral surgeons such as Dr. Trevisani. When properly supported, implants have a very high survival rate with minimal complications.