Dental Implants – Past and Present

It is easy to take for granted all of the scientific ingenuities available to us in the modern day times that we live in.  Sometimes it takes a simple power or water outage to remind us how fortunate we are to live in an age where almost anything we need is right at our fingertips.  Once those comforts are temporarily taken away, we quickly realize how much we are dependent upon them. This includes modern day dentistry.  When we experience a toothache, we simply go to the dentist and he fixes it, and for anyone who has endured the throbbing pain of an achy tooth, thank heavens for this luxury!

In fact, in today’s world, the science of dentistry has advanced so far that we can now have our actual teeth replaced right in the dentist’s chair through the modern technology of implant dentistry. So just exactly how did the dental implant come into existence?

The history of the dental implant takes us back to 600 AD where archeologists have found quite possibly the very first recorded use of an implant within the Mayan civilization.  In 1931, the excavation of a Mayan burial site led to the discovery of a female skull with three tooth-like shells in her jaw.  After several decades passed, it was discovered within the dental academic world that the shell teeth were not just used a as burial ritual, as formerly believed by the archeological world, but were in fact placed in the woman’s mouth while she was still alive.

The beginning of modern day dental implants; however, did not begin until the 1950s when researchers at Cambridge University embedded a titanium chamber into the ears of a rabbit for the sole purpose to study blood flow in vitro.  This research eventually led to the discovery that the titanium became permanent within the soft tissue of rabbits ears because the bones in that area actually adhered to the titanium implant.  This knowledge launched further studies on both animals and humans to conclude the unique properties of titanium and bone, and most importantly its potential involvement in the future of dental implants.  Osseointegration, or the scientific term given for the adherence of titanium to bone, was thus discovered.

From the first discovery of Osseointegration in the 1950s, researchers continued to work on and perfect implantology, the study of dental implants. However, it wasn’t until 1982 at a Toronto Conference in Clinical Dentistry when the actual guidelines, safety, and standardization were set for the use of the dental implant.  Yet from there on, dental implants became more and more common practice among the dental community and with all of the successful results, the science of dental implants continued, furthered, perfected and eventually advanced to the place it is today.

In today’s society, dental implants are not only used in place of dentures and bridges, but are also used to replace a single missing tooth.  They are quicker, easier, and less painful than ever before.   For more information about the benefits of dental implants, schedule an appointment today for a free consultation with Colorado Springs implant dentist, Dr. Andrew Hall.

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