Dental Implants – Why They Work

Because of significant increases in success rates and the amount of restorative tooth function they can offer, dental implants have recently exploded in popularity. Jordan Landing Smile-West Jordan Dental Implants is an excellent resource for this. Dental implants, like most other game-changing medical and dental innovations, have a long history of improving viability over time. Clinical trials have shown that their reliability has skyrocketed only in the last few decades. This article discusses why today’s implants are so much more successful, as well as the factors that lead to that success. For a description of the procedure and illustrative images of implant components, see How Dental Implants Are Installed.

Dental Implants: Early Evidence of Low Performance

In the 1930s, some of the first-known evidence of dental implants was discovered during an excavation of the remains of a young Mayan woman, believed to date back to about 600 AD. These implants were originally thought to have been implanted for adornment after the young woman’s death, which was a common practise in ancient Egypt. The Mayan woman’s dental implants (made of seashells) were not put before her death until 1970, when a Brazilian professor used radiography to prove it. Bone had regenerated around two of the three implants, according to x-rays. Although the Mayan culture was known for its advancements and achievements, the lack of similar artefacts suggests a relatively low success rate at the time. It’s unlikely that anyone knew why those dental implants worked (and why most others did not).

Experimentation Continues – Successes Aren’t Clearly Recognized

In the nineteenth century, there was a lot of experimentation with dental implants. The most common materials used were gold and platinum, and implants were often inserted right after an extraction. Attempts to implant human teeth in the 18th century have already shown that the human body can reject someone else’s teeth. Even the initially promising 19th century implants did not seem to last.

An Unintentional Breakthrough in the Twentieth Century Provides Important Clues

Dr. P.I. Brnemark, a Swedish orthopaedic surgeon, pioneered the development of dental implants in the 1950s while conducting studies on bone regeneration and healing. Optical chambers made of titanium that were screwed into bone were used to research the process. After a few months of observation, he found that the (expensive) optical chambers could not be easily removed for reuse due to bone formation and hardening around the titanium screws. Brnemark ventured outside of his “traditional” area to investigate the exciting implications of implant dentistry, especially because the findings (in the mouth) were more easily observed clinically. (Titanium implants are, of course, critical in today’s active joint replacements and prosthetics.)