Considerable research by Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark in the 1950s and 60s led to the realization that osseointegration occurred between titanium and bone. The orthopedic surgeon discovered that the titanium rod used in his animal studies could not be retrieved after the experiment was complete. Further studies revealed that the animal’s bone had directly bonded to the titanium (he named the process osseointegration).
The Branemark two-stage procedure involved the use of biocompatible titanium-alloy implants that were atraumatically placed into the alveolar process. These devices were then recovered by soft tissue surgical flaps to separate the implants from the oral cavity and allow a few months of undisturbed healing.
After three to six months, the osseointegrated implants were surgically uncovered and then used as fixed foundations for oral prosthesis.
The evolution of dental implant techniques
Despite the quantum technological leap brought about by osseointegrated implants, it later became apparent that the Branemark-pioneered conventional (two-stage) approach was time-consuming for most patients. The fact that this approach also necessitated a second surgical procedure and the construction of one (or more) temporary removable prosthodontic devices was another demerit. Generally, the two-stage approach was considered too invasive, long, and costly.
Continued experimentation led to the discovery of one-stage or immediate implants that have become increasingly common in recent years, especially when a patient’s case is fairly uncomplicated. Immediate implants osseointegrate while a non-occluding temporary crown is fitted in the mouth.
However, patients should be careful about incising, masticating, and other mechanical loading of the prosthesis area during the recovery period to reduce the risk of failure. After a few months, a functional or cosmetic restoration may be fabricated to replace the temporary crown.
But even with the increasing popularity of immediate implants, two-stage devices are still the better choice, especially for complicated cases such as when an implant is placed at the same time as a bone graft procedure, when the bone at the implant site is of sub-optimal quality, or when there is no major benefit to a one-stage approach.
Additionally, small-diameter mini-implants can sometimes be used as temporary prosthetic-supporting devices as the patient/denturist waits for the two-stage implants to osseointegrate. These implants can then be removed or used longer term to support conventional removable prosthesis such as dentures.
Since the distribution of dental implants on a commercial scale, the arena of oral implantology has gone through rapid and progressive development. In just a few decades, countless professionals have specialized in this field, and their ongoing research efforts continue to reward this field with new developments on a regular basis.
Consequently, dental implants have moved from the fringes of dental prosthetics to the mainstream, and are now used for applications not foreseen a decade ago. To find out whether you are a good candidate for dental implants, or to learn about other options for replacing your teeth, please contact
out denture specialists at Crowchild Denture Clinic in Calgary.
Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo