by Dr. Phil Durden
Dental Implants are artificial tooth replacements that were first developed half a century ago by Swedish orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brânemark. Brânemark explored and developed the concept of "osseointegration" in which natural bone will grow around (or "integrate" with) titanium, making it an option for prosthetic replacements in the human body. This became the breakthrough discovery that launched an entirely new phase of restorative dentistry.
Today, titanium dental implants are used as artificial "roots" to rebuild missing teeth. They are placed in a dental office under local anesthesia and restored after they have been given time to integrate with the jaw bone.
Prior to the advent of dental implants, a single missing tooth could only be restored with a dental bridge, which requires preparation of adjacent teeth, or, a removable appliance, such as a partial denture or flipper. Today, dental implants can be used to restore a single tooth back to a natural-looking state and stabilize a patient's overall bite.