Dental implants are now standard practice for replacing missing or severely damaged teeth. And in over 40 years of clinical use and recorded success, there have been numerous changes and improvements along the way.

It was 1965 when Swedish Professor Per-Invar Branemark invented the modern-day titanium implant, treating the first patient in the world (Gosta Larsson), who was missing several teeth due to severe chin and jaw deformities.

After researching bone healing and regeneration and conducting numerous tests on rabbits in 1952, Branemark realised that titanium dental implants effectively integrated with bone. He titled the process “osseointegration” (osseo for ‘bone’, integration meaning ‘joining with’).

But perhaps what’s even more fascinating is that the earliest use of dental implants can be traced back as far as the Mayan civilisation. Three tooth-shaped pieces of shell were found substituting three missing incisor teeth in a young woman’s mandible by excavators in Honduras in 1931. That’s around 1350 years before Professor Branemark discovered the benefits of implanting titanium-root implants!

Dental implant development
In 1978 after much success, Professor Branemark convinced the chemical and defence company Bofors to join forces with him in a bid to further develop his dental implant concept. The Bofors Nobelpharma partnership was founded in 1981 and the commercial potential of titanium implants was realised. The company was renamed Nobel Biocare in 1996.

Today’s dental implants
The pioneering dental implant design has advanced considerably since then. It can be used to replace either a single tooth or multiple missing teeth, and is no longer the basic ‘one-size-fits-all’ system it once was.

Instead, modern dental implants are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit the individual. The surface material is also enhanced to improve the osseointegration process, which explains why dental implants today have a more-than 90 per cent success rate (depending on the implant’s jaw location), according to the Australian Dental Association.

Schedule a consultation with The Sydney Implant Institute today if you have any questions or concerns regarding missing teeth, or have recently lost a tooth.