It is with deep sorrow that I am writing today’s blog as the dental world morns the passing of the father of modern day dental implants, Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark. After a period of extended illness Professor Branemark died on the 20th December 2014.
Over the years there have been many different materials and types of dental implant designs but it was after the discovery of osseointegration of the metal titanium with bone, by Prof. Branemark in 1952, that paved the way for the dental implants that we all use and benefit from today. Osseointegration refers to the connection that bone makes with titanium implants; essentially the bone grows around the dental implant and secures it in place.
In 1965, he placed the first titanium dental implants in a patient called Gosta Larsson in his clinic in Gothenburg. He was born with severe jaw deformities and agreed to be the test patient as he wanted to have teeth again. Thankfully it proved to be a grate success and he implants lasted for over 40 years until he died in 2006.
Despite this success Prof. Branemark spent almost 30 years trying to convince the scientific community of the viability of osseointegration. Unfortunately he was often ridiculed and it was not until the 1983 Toronto Conference when finally people started to accept his work. Prof. Branemark is known to have said that, ‘no one should die with their teeth in a glass’ and it is this dedication to improving the quality of life that we have dental implants that can truly replace missing natural teeth.
Today the field of dental implants and osseointegration is very predictable. If you have any missing teeth then dental implant treatment is usually the best method to restore your smile and bite back to the way it was.