Dental implants have long been one of the most beneficial treatments for patients requiring replacement teeth. They’re seen as an alternative to dentures – which are removable – as the implants remain fixed in the jaw, like real teeth. They’re also more beneficial than a conventional dental bridge as no surrounding teeth need to be touched or damaged to fit them.
Over the years, dental implant technology has undergone a dramatic transformation. When you compare how things were 40 years ago to now, the difference is staggering. Today’s blog will walk you through the last four decades of dental implants to establish how things began, and how technology has improved and advanced ever since.
The History Of Dental Implants
For hundreds of years, people have been searching for solutions to combat tooth loss. There are many ancient forms of ‘implants’, but the first dental implant wasn’t created until the 1960s. At this time, it was discovered that titanium had all the properties needed to be used for this purpose. It worked well in the jaw and was seen as something of a breakthrough moment.
More and more research was done, and the first ever dental implant was administered in 1965. Interestingly enough, the titanium implant discovery was made by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon so you could call Sweden the birthplace of dental implants!
Smooth Surface vs Rough Surface Implants
During the early days of dental implants, everyone used smooth surface implants. There’s no real understanding as to why this was the case, but most experts assume that it simply seemed like the rational thing to do. A smooth titanium rod was fused to the bone, and restoration could be placed on top of it.
The only issue with this was that the recovery time for patients was much longer than it is today. As the years went by, it was discovered that the reason for this lay in the smooth surface of the dental implants. Scientists found that bone likes to grow against rough surfaces rather than smooth ones. In essence, if a roughly surfaced implant was used, then the recovery time would shorten as the bone and implant would connect together quicker.
Consequently, many companys developed implants that have ‘threads’. The best way to describe this is that it looks like the lines on a screw that are there to screw it in place. Doing this means that the recovery time is shortened from 6 months to 6-8 weeks.Implants are installed on the same day but if you replace one or two teeth the implants need to heal between 6-8 weeks before loading. When you replace all the teeth in one jaw you can deliver the implant-bridge for installation the same day.
The Speed Of Completion
This leads us onto the next point in the evolution of dental implants; procedure speed. Back in the day, the whole procedure could span across multiple appointments over a few weeks or months. As mentioned before, this was largely down to the type of implant being created. The smooth surface meant that a period of recovery time was needed for the implant to fit into the jaw and stay in place.
Nowadays, implants are snugly placed in their correct position, and the stability of the implant i the jaw is pretty much instant. There’s no need for patients to go away and wait for the magical connection to happen, they can have their prosthetic bridge for a full jaw right away. This is massively beneficial for patients as they no longer need to deal with the recovery time where they’re essentially walking around with missing teeth. It can be embarrassing, and the nature of the treatment meant that they couldn’t wear dentures as a temporary solution. Now, you can walk out of the clinic with a brand new implants and teeth on the same day.
It’s only when you replace one och several teeth you have to wait 6-12 weeks for healing of the implants before receiving your teeth.
Advancements In Technology
To say that dental implants have come a long way in a short space of time would be the understatement of the century. A significant part of this progress is due to the huge advancements in modern technology.
At our surgery, we use Navident and Simplant computer-aided technology to conduct our implants. This is a revolutionary bit of tech as it lets us see the patient in a 3D virtual setting, where we can then plan the implant and restoration before implementing it on them. It also allows us to make digital impressions, which are way more accurate than the traditional ones used in years gone by. This improves the entire procedure as we’re able to plan ahead and virtually practice what’s going to happen. So, when the time comes to perform dental implant surgery, we can do so with more speed and accuracy. Our method results in less pain, swelling and no bruises because of our minimal invasive technique and you can go back to work the next day.
Furthermore, there have been advancements in the materials used to create dental implants and the implant prosthetics. These days, you can get implants that look identical to your surrounding teeth. They’re a lot more durable too, with the latest implant technology allowing them to last for up to 30 years!
Perhaps the most significant change is how titanium implants are changing. Instead of solid titanium, many of them are now being created with the use of nanotechnology. In doing so, it’s helped improve the way titanium fuses with the jaw, while also lowering infection risks as well.
Conclusion: A Change for The Better
There’s a significant difference in dental implants now compared to the first one back in 1965. The whole structure of the implant has changed, and there’s so much technology supporting it. Dental surgeons can conduct more accurate treatments that are far safer and less painful for patients. The completion time has drastically reduced, and the quality of modern dental implants is simply incomparable to their older versions.
The bottom line is that dental implant technology is much better than it once was – and advancements are always ongoing. The patient experience is far improved, as are the results. So much so that implants have gone from being a treatment most dentists wanted to avoid, to one that’s now preferred over dentures and bridges.
Here at Swedish Dental, we use the latest and greatest implant technology to provide the solutions you need. Our service will help you replace missing teeth without the discomfort or maintenance of a denture. Feel free to contact our team today if you’re interested in this service, and we’ll give a free consultation before your initial examination.