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Dental Implants History

One of the most important developments in modern dentistry has been the ability to replace missing teeth using titanium implants placed directly in to the jawbone. From one tooth up to a whole arch, or simply to stabilize a moving denture, implant dentistry can offer a successful alternative to many restorative problems. The security and comfort of a fixed restoration which looks and functions like real teeth cannot be over emphasized.

Almost since the time man started loosing teeth there have been attempts to replace them. Maya Indians (100-1500AD) remains show evidence of tooth replacement with obsidian stones. Throughout the 19th & 20th century many different materials have been tried : gold, porcelain, Indian rubber, chrome cobalt, stainless steel with very varying degrees of success.

The major breakthrough in Implant success, which ultimately led to the very successful materials & techniques now being employed, was made in 1952 by Per-Ing-var Branemark, in Sweden, while investigating wound healing. By chance it was discovered that titanium was biocompatible and when surgically placed in bone, direct bone contact and complete healing occurred. This reaction of the bone to titanium was termed "osseointegration".

The first screw shape implants were placed in patients in 1965. The technique was kept under research conditions and refined until 1985 when it was released to suitably trained practitioners, with the confidence of over 20years research and development.

Throughout this period other types of implant systems have been available, however none have, until recently, been able to meet with the success rates afforded by the Branemark system. All the currently successful systems are now based on the initial Branemark research and treatment protocols.