The Fourth of July is a great time for us to look back on our history. Today, I want to do just that. But instead of reflecting the history of this country; I want to reflect on the history of dentistry and highlight how far one restorative dental procedure has advanced in the past few decades.
Even since we opened our office, we’ve taken hours of training to provide state-of-the-art procedures and comfortable care. We’re constantly surprised at how gentle and quick so many of our dental treatments have become. One great treatment that we’ve focused is dental implants. Our dental implants are made from titanium and can be restored with crowns, bridges, or dentures.
How We Used to Replace Teeth
If you’ve taken an ancient history course, you’re probably already aware of the innovate ways earlier civilizations thrived. Romans theorized about atoms and understand the concept of basic sanitation. Archeologists have discovered Mayan skulls from 600 A.D. that had replacement teeth made from carved jade, stones, and even seashells. While we don’t recommend using any of these items to replace teeth now, it’s interesting to see how some of the earliest known civilizations made their oral health a priority. These items were technically “dental implants.”
The Discovery of Modern Dental Implants
There are millions of Americans who are living with missing teeth. In fact, about 35 million Americans are living without any of their natural teeth. Since the dawn of modern medicine, doctors and dentists have been looking at the most effective ways to replace failing or missing natural teeth. The biggest discovery for replacing teeth came in the 1950s, though it came at the hands of a professor experimenting with titanium implant chambers. Per-Ingvar Branemark place a titanium chamber in a rabbit bone to study blood flow rates. Once the experiment was completed, Branemark found that the titanium and bone had merged. It wasn’t long after that Brandemark began using the concept for dental implants. In fact, Branemark is still a leading dental implant provider today.
The earliest titanium dental implants were considered blade implants. Dentists began using these in the 1960s. They implemented the blade implants in the late 1960s, but a new implant was introduced in the 1970s. The root-form titanium implant has been used — though with some variation in dentistry for the last five decades. Instead of placing a blade into the bone, we use a titanium screw. The threaded root then merges with the jawbone to support a lifelike restoration.
Today, we can restore these implants with individual crowns, bridges, or even full arches of permanent teeth. We use a special dental implant known as All-on-4 to replace entire arches of missing teeth. This treatment is ideal for patients struggling with their removable dentures. Removable dentures are not fixed to the jawbone, which creates an ill fit and does not keep the jawbone or gums from receding. Because a titanium dental implant merges with the jawbone, it also halts any future jawbone deterioration.
The patients we’ve treated with dental implants can enjoy food like they could with their natural teeth. That’s because modern dental implants nearly mimic the power of your natural teeth.
I hope this brief history lesson has showed you just how far we’ve come in dentistry. We can treat your missing teeth with a variety of options. You don’t have to settle for terrible dentures or missing teeth. Call our office today at 503-917-0523 to schedule a consultation with our professional team.
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