Patients believe dental implants are a high-tech, modern treatment to replace lost or severely damaged teeth. Over the last decades they have been gaining popularity, especially because modern advancements and materials that make dental implants even more comfortable for patients. But what most don’t realize is the techniques and biomaterials used for modern dental implants have been evolving for thousands of years. Even the ancients had their own methods for maintaining and stabilizing teeth. Here is a brief outline of the evolution of dental implants and a few modern principles of today’s procedures.
In 2500 B.C. the Egyptians used gold wire ligatures to help stabilize damaged or loose teeth. In 500 B.C. Etruscans replaced missing teeth with animal bones. Around the same time Phoenicians used gold wires to splint teeth compromised by periodontal infection and decay. And in 600 A.D. the Mayans inserted shells directly into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. Archeologists also found restorations made of turquoise and jade. These primitive attempts at stabilization and dental implants laid the groundwork for advancements of the future.
In 1700 J. Hunter transplanted teeth from one human to another. The procedure was called allotransplants. In 1809 J. Maggiolo was the first to place a gold implant tube into a fresh extraction.
Also in 1913 gold cylinders placed by J. Greenfield functioned as an artificial tooth root. In the 1930s M. Strock used orthopedic screw fixtures made of vitallium in both dogs and humans to replace missing teeth. These were called Vitallium implants. In 1938 the Cylindrical endosseous implant was patented by P.B. Adams. Then in the 1940s a post-type endosseous implant was developed by M. Formiggini and F. Zepponi. Also, in Sweden, a subperiosteal implant was developed G. Dahl.
Cutting Edge Advancements
In 1952s P.l. Branemark made a groundbreaking discovery — osseointegration. Quite by accident this researcher found that bone integrated with titanium. Then in 1965 P.I. Branemark was the first to treat a patient with a titanium implant for full mouth rehabilitation. Also, in France during the 1960s, R. Chercheve developed a double-helical spiral implant made of Co-Cr. In 1968 L. Linkow developed a thin and long blade implant to treat partial and total edentulism. Implants were changed once again in 1983 when CAD/CAM solutions were used for prosthodontic restorations. This technology allowed for high-precision, industrial manufacturing of dental crowns to top implants.
In 1998 the all-on-4 treatment concept
reduced the number of implants for full arch treatments and sees high success rates. The dentist can place a full arch reconstruction on just four dental implants. This reduces time in the chair as well as recovery time. In 2005 innovations produce the first comprehensive concepts for 3D treatment planning and guided surgery. Also in 2005 the FDA gave clearance for a viable immediate treatment concept. This is a one stage implant procedure with fewer surgical interventions and less trauma for patients.
Structure and Composition of Modern Dental Implants
The dental implants of today come in a range of shapes and sizes to suit different teeth that require replacement. There are four main types of implant designs: endosteal implants are secured directly into the alveolar or basal bone of the maxilla or mandible; subperiosteal implants use a custom cast frame overlaying the boney cortex; transosteal has components from both endosteal and subperiosteal; and epithelial implants are placed into the oral mucosa. Dental professionals have perfected the osseointegratoin process and can produce amazing results with modern day dental implants.