A hole lot of history
Dental implants have existed, in some rudimentary form or other, for thousands of years. Some of the earliest recorded instances of dental implants date back as far as 2000BC China, where archaeologists uncovered bamboo pegs lodged within the skulls of ancient skeletons, which were used to bridge the gaps in their teeth. Ancient Etruscans and Romans both hammered seashells and other minerals into the jawbones of their citizens who had missing teeth. Whilst this method may make the modern patient wince, it’s interesting to note that the desire to have a full set of teeth – regardless of what they are constructed from – is nothing new. A lot has changed since the days of bamboo pegs however, and modern dental implants in Birmingham are truly feats of modern medicine which restore the patient’s smile to its fullest potential, without the risk of splinters.
Trial and error
Throughout the course of time, each civilisation has made use of the tools and materials around them to further the design of dental implants, and help restore their patients’ smiles. Getting from the days of bamboo pegs and sea shells to where implants are today was no simple feat, and required a great deal of trial and error. The use of titanium alloy within dental implants, which is paramount to ensuring that contemporary implants fuse within the patient’s jawbone, did not come about until 1952 when an orthopaedist stumbled across a rabbit, whose femur bone had fused with a titanium cylinder. From this, it was hypothesised that the same process could be replicated within humans, and in 1965 the first successful use of titanium alloy within biocompatibility was reached, and the first successful dental implant installed. This paved the way for the progression of the implant, and allowed dentists to achieve the implant procedures which are common across Birmingham and beyond.
Grinning and bearing it
The problem has probably always been that those who suffer from missing teeth can often find it to have a largely detrimental effect on both their oral health, and their overall well-being, hence the constant, prevailing desire throughout history to have a full set of teeth. Whilst the number of those who are seeking dental implant treatments in the UK are on the rise, it is still estimated that over 27 million adults live with one or more untreated missing teeth. Whilst they may find it possible to ‘grin and bear it’ – they may perhaps be unaware of the massively detrimental effect that it can have. One of the most severe, common results of having an untreated missing tooth, is bone loss. This happens when the surrounding bone tissue around the missing tooth is reabsorbed and dispersed elsewhere in the patient’s body. The results of this generally end in the patient appearing far older than their years. Speech problems are another, more obvious, detrimental effect of having an untreated missing tooth – and one which can be damaging to both the patient’s oral health, as well as their social well-being.
Bridging the gaps
Thankfully however, modern dental implants can fully restore both a patient’s smile and their self-esteem, by bridging the gap and providing them with a smile, which is as strong as their natural teeth. Unlike crowns or bridges, which are merely prosthetic solutions, dental implants act at the root of the problem by fusing a titanium socket with the jawbone of the patient – just as natural teeth are fused – before a replica tooth is inserted. This replica tooth is constructed from porcelain or plastic, and will keep the patient smiling for years to come.