History of Dental Implants
Dentist in Farmington, UT
You may think dental implants are the newest advancement in dentistry, but the truth is that its history is long, and the excitement is new. Following decades of advancement, and research agreeing with results, we now know that restoring missing teeth with dental implants is the best approach. You can have missing teeth not just restored, but rebuilt, with the surgical placement of a dental implant. This restorative procedure is better for your oral health, your physical health, and your self confidence.
A dental implant, or tooth implant, is a post that we surgically embed into your jawbone. It actually is not a tooth at all, it is a new tooth root. When considering your teeth, it can be divided into three units, namely: the jawbone, the root, and then the tooth. The root acts as a middleman connecting the tooth to the jawbone. When a tooth is lost, so is that connective root. This is why other artificial teeth, such as a bridge or denture, are secured to neighboring teeth or placed using adhesives, they are not attached to the bone. A dental implant allows us to rebuild the root, reestablishing that connection to the bone, and then placing a prosthetic over the implant, rebuilding the entire unit.
We recommend our patients restore missing teeth with the use of a dental implant because it is better for their oral and physical health in both the short term and the long term. Your mouth is much like a working machine, with multiple parts that rely on each other to work effectively. Just as you wouldn’t remove a gear from a clock and expect it to work right, the same can be said about our mouths. When you realize how much we use our mouths, for breathing, eating and speaking, we know that you will want to keep it in well-working order.
Historical Attempts with Dental Implants
The history of dental implants can be divided into two categories, including: ancient attempts with limited knowledge, and early scientific advancement of dentistry through modern day. We are lucky that both categories occurred because early attempts led to where we are today.
Ancient Attempts of Dental Implants with Limited Knowledge
Archeology has allowed scientists to study and learn about ancient peoples, how they lived, and what they did. Among their many survival talents, we have evidence of multiple humans across multiple lands and cultures attempting dental work, including dental implants. Humans have understood the need for teeth for several thousands of years, and attempted surgical restoration.
Scientists have found multiple attempts at replacing teeth with other objects, including metal, shell, bamboo, and even rock. These materials were set into the gum tissue and into the jawbone. The fascinating part wasn’t the attempt to restore teeth, but how the body responded. We can only assume infection rates were high, but the body displayed attempts at healing around these primitive attempts, the bone actually grew around the device incorporating it into the jaw. Seeing evidence of these ancient procedures set off the study of bone growth and healing bone.
Early Scientific Advancement of Dentistry through Modern Day
A majority of dental advancement has occurred since the 20th century. People are living longer and want to keep their teeth longer. In the early 1900’s doctors began repairing damaged bone, in various areas of the body, with metal. The bone is willing to grow and heal, doctors just needed to discover the right material for the job. They wanted a metal that is biocompatible, strong and lightweight. Through some research, it was discovered that titanium was best. As the decades continued, and dental education advanced, dentists had a greater understanding of the need to care for our teeth, and how missing teeth led to bigger issues. In the 1960’s the first dental implant was placed.
The research proved that following the placement of a titanium implant, the bone grew up and around the device fusing the two firmly together. This healing process is known as osseointegration, meaning the integration or fusion of bone and another device. Today, we understand much more about the right shape, size, and length of the device. We understand more about bone health and how to optimize it for better restoration. We understand how to help our patients have a successful, long term restoration.
Dental Implant FAQ
We are happy to answer your questions about dental implants. We have included some answers below, but encourage you to ask us for more information as needed.
Why Restore Missing Teeth?
This is the most frequently asked question. For most of history people have just had missing teeth, it was normal. Many people may even think it’s normal to have dentures when you’re older. Even if it’s normal, missing teeth is not comfortable, and it’s not good for your mouth. Missing teeth can lead to the loss or movement of other teeth. It can mean adjusting your diet. It can prevent you from chewing correctly, it can even alter your speech. We have a much better understanding of how missing teeth affects your health and even how you see yourself. We can help you look better and feel better by restoring missing teeth.
Is the Process Long?
Having dental implants placed can include multiple steps. The standard dental implant often requires a bone graft prior to placement, and that can add months to the placement process. Other implant procedures such as the All-on-4® Treatment Concept, can have your implants and denture set all in one day. The best way to know how long the process will take is to schedule a consultation for information specific to your needs.
Are Implants Better Than Other Replacement Teeth?
Dental implants are not actually a tooth, but a device that can retain an artificial tooth, or set of teeth, in place. Yes, having a tooth restored with an implanted root system is better than having a replacement tooth, or teeth, hovering over the gum tissue.
We invite you to learn more about dental implants and how they can help you have a healthier mouth. For more information, contact our Farmington office at 385 381-6464.