Dental implants are necessary when a patient needs a single tooth or multiple teeth replaced. This device is often constructed of strong titanium so it forms a solid base to position a replacement tooth on. The implant works much like a man made root. They are implanted within the jaw bone. The bone will begin the Osseointegration process, which means that is will literally fuse with the titanium. This process helps hold the implant in and makes it look and feel more natural. Patients with dental implants will notice that the implanted tooth feels somewhat different when eating. This is because it does not have a periodontal ligament like natural teeth do.
The world’s earliest dental implants date as far back as the Mayan civilization. During this time period, tooth shaped shell pieces were fitted into empty tooth sockets to function as replacements. Initially, archaeologists interpreted these findings to indicate that the Mayans placed shell in the mouth of a deceased person as part of a death ritual or practice. It wasn’t until 1970 that professor Amadeo Bobbio learned that the shell implants had been added during the individual’s lifetime rather than after it had ended.
In 1959, the first titanium dental implants were being used by Stefano Melchiade. The Italian doctor found that his titanium dental implants were working very well. His clinical studies were published in 1966, proving the benefits of titanium. Today, researchers have started testing the possibility of using ceramic materials to construct dental implants that look more natural.
A dental implant requires a surgical procedure to be placed in the patient’s mouth. This process usually begins with a series of radiographs or a CT scan to examine the area prior to beginning surgery. During the procedure, a pilot hole is drilled and the dental implant installed. A period of time must pass to allow the jaw bone to grow on the surface of the implant before placing a crown on it.
The amount of time required between installing the dental implant and adding the replacement tooth varies. In most cases, dental professionals generally allow approximately two to four months. Doing so too early can cause the dental implant to shift. The healing time period is still frequently debated in the dental industry. Patients who plan on having dental implants installed should talk to their dentist about healing times and any conditions or concerns that might affect their individual situation. Only a professional can make reliable recommendations to ensure that a dental implant procedure is successful and lasts for many years.