By Michael W. Herndon, DDS
Prior to the type of dental implant used today, there were many other forms and materials that were attempted before modern technologies. Few of these resulted in what we call “Osseointegration,” or “integrated with the bone.” Below is an interesting story about how the dental implants that are used today came into being.
An orthopedic surgeon from Sweden, Dr. Per Branamark, was interested in seeing directly the healing events that occurred in bone following an injury. His plan was to create a window that he could insert into the femur of a rabbit leg so he could watch and photograph the healing events. While looking around to find a material, he decided to use titanium metal for the framework and cover it with glass for the window. Once this framework was made, he anesthetized the rabbit, performed a surgical entry and drilled a hole in the bone, exposing the inner part of the leg bone called the marrow. Then he inserted the titanium framework with the glass and began his study.
Once the study was completed he sacrificed the rabbit for further evaluation and attempted to remove the metal framework with the glass in it. He discovered he could not get it out! It was stuck to the bone. Many people would have just carved it away from the bone and moved on to the next part of the study, but for Dr. Branemark, a light bulb went on and he realized the impact this could have for people without teeth. And this is how the concept of “osseointigration” was born!
Today, dental implants are routine and we commonly use them to replace teeth. I have been placing and restoring dental implants for over 32 years, before Dr. Branemark’s methods came into use, and it has been very interesting to see this remarkable treatment evolve over the years! Dr. Herndon welcomes new patients, children, and emergencies. His office is located at 431 W. Main Street, Quincy, Phone Number is 530-283-1119