Despite being relatively common these days, it doesn’t seem that dental implants have been around that long as a tooth replacement option. The truth is, modern dental implants have been used for over half a century. But humans have been trying to replace teeth for much longer than that.
Since dental implants are our favored method for tooth replacement at Prosthodontics of New York, here’s some additional history on our trusty titanium friends.
For as long as humans have been around we’ve been losing teeth. And, it appears, trying to replace them. Archeological digs have unearthed implanted seashells and ivory in the jawbones of ancient Mayans and Egyptians. People have also tried to place human and animal teeth back in place, hoping they would somehow take hold.
Fast-forward to the 20th century and the birth of the modern implant. Today’s dental implants can be traced back to 1952. Swedish orthopedic surgeon, Per-Ingvar Branemark, was studying bone healing and regeneration. He inserted a titanium screw into a rabbit tibia to mend a break but found that when he tried to remove the screw later the bone had fully grown around it and it couldn’t be removed. A decade of research followed and the modern dental implant debuted in 1965.
At Prosthodontics of New York, we believe dental implants are far and away the best solution to replace a missing tooth, whether it is a tooth that is already gone or a tooth that is so badly damaged or decayed that it requires extraction.
Some people think that losing a tooth or two is no big deal. Why bother with replacing it? That’s a bad idea for your long-term oral health. If you don’t replace a missing tooth, the adjacent teeth tend to spread out to fill the gap. This creates problems with your overall bite and tooth alignment.
Fun facts about dental implants
Since we’re such big implant fans, let’s see if you know these facts that relate to them.
- An estimated 69% of Americans age 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth.
- 25% of Americans over age 74 have lost all of their natural teeth.
- Dental implants are a titanium screw that is set into the hole in the jawbone where the natural tooth root was anchored. The jawbone then grows around the implant in a process known as osseointegration.
- Once in place, implants function like a natural tooth, transferring the energy from biting and chewing down into the jawbone beneath the artificial tooth. This stimulation is responsible for the jawbone continually renewing itself, a process that prevents bone loss.
- Implants can also be used to anchor partial or complete dentures.
- Implants now have a 98% success rate.