What are Dental Implants?

While the placement of dental implants was attempted for many decades in the twentieth century, it was not until the 1950’s that discoveries were made that laid the foundation for modern reconstructive surgery.

Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark was perhaps the most important figure in the advancement of implant dentistry. His significant breakthrough, in the 1950’s, was the discovery that bone can integrate with titanium components. That is, living bone could become so fused with the titanium oxide layer of an implant that the two could not be separated without fracture. This process, whereby nature allows the attachment of bone cells to the titanium surface became known as “osseointegration.”

As a result of studying the osseointegration process, scientists developed dental implants, which are simply small titanium cylinders placed into the jawbone to support replacement teeth. These titanium implants fuse with your bone and provide a permanent anchorage for a prosthetic reconstruction which looks and feels like a natural tooth. Worldwide more than 800,000 patients have been treated since 1965 with dental implant reconstructions.

The first step in the decision for dental implants is to make an appointment with a qualified dentist for an evaluation. He/She will examine your mouth and teeth and take a thorough medical and dental history. You’ll receive X-rays and possibly a CT scan, which will give the dentist a good idea of your bone density and the shape of your jaw. The Dental implants procedure is then usually completed in two phases.