Today dental implants have become a common recommendation to replace missing teeth.
“There has been an evolution with implants and they are very predictable,” says Dr. VijayaCherukuri from her Chino, California Cosmetic Dental Practice. “But many do not realize the long history of dental implants.”
Dental implants, according to archaeologists, may have had their start more than 1,350 years ago. Evidence found in Honduras show Mayan civilization also replaced missing teeth with implants.
“Only the implants were not made of titanium as you would find today,” Dr. Cherukuri says, “instead these dental implants were formed from shell.”
Archaeologists found a mandible that has been dated to about 600 A.D. It is believed that the bone belonged to a woman in her twenties and contains three tooth-shaped pieces that replaced her missing lower incisors.
Modern implant research began in the 1950’s with the use of titanium, which has the ability to osseointegrate with the bone well. Since that time, more than 700,000 implants are placed each year.
A dental implant is a "root" device, usually made of titanium, used in dentistry to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth.
Virtually all dental implants placed today are root-form endosseous implants, i.e., they appear similar to an actual tooth root (and thus possess a "root-form") and are placed within the bone (endo- being the Greek prefix for "in" and osseous referring to "bone"). The bone of the jaw accepts and osseointegrates with the titanium post. Osseointegration refers to the fusion of the implant surface with the surrounding bone. Dental implants will fuse with bone; however, they lack the periodontal ligament, so they will feel slightly different from natural teeth during chewing.
Prior to the advent of root-form endosseous implants, most implants were either blade endosseous implants, in that the shape of the metal piece placed within the bone resembled a flat blade, or subperiosteal implants, in which a framework was constructed to lie upon and was attached with screws to the exposed bone of the jaws.
Dental implants can be used to support a number of dental prostheses, including crowns, implant-supported bridges or dentures. They can also be used as anchorage for orthodontic tooth movement. The use of dental implants permits unidirectional tooth movement without reciprocal action.
Restoring smiles and general health, perhaps today you should see if you are a candidate to replace your missing tooth with a dental implant.