We guess you never wondered how dental implatology started to take place and what were the first materials in use? This is a short story of dental implantology – from gold to plastics as a newest dental hit.
Some historians say that humans have always used dental implants, in one form or another. The first official ‘implantological’ date is 2500 BCE in Egypt and the first material mentioned was – gold. At the time, people also used ivory and stone, even the bits of shell (Mayas) to replace the missing teeth.
Not much progress in the use of material was achieved until the modern era and the 1930s. After noting that orthopedic surgeons used Vitallium (a chromium-cobalt alloy) in hip bones, researchers produced a Vitallium screw to anchor and support replacement teeth. After that also came cobalt and stainless steel, whit the obvious problem that stainless steel corroded, while the chrome cobalt leaked some of its minerals during time.
New modern era jump was a discovery of the possible use of titanium and titanium alloys. The groundbreaking discovery, from 1952 made by Swedish doctor, was that when titanium was placed into contact with bone it left undisturbed. The body (the bone) would adjust to it and grew against the surface, so the titanium implant would stay un-removable without cutting out the bone around the titanium. This developed into today’s implants.
Nowadays, plastic implants are becoming more and more interesting. This was also clear from this year’s International Dental Show (IDS) held in March 2017 in Cologne, Germany. Even though some dental implant specialists say that the plastics needs more attention and adjustments, in the future, related materials could also gain in significance. One mentioned is PEKK (polyether ketone ketone). In addition to the pure ceramics and pure plastics, hybrid materials that attempt to combine the best of both worlds are also exciting.
At the first glance, the path from gold to plastics was a downward process, but it seems that the days of golden grillz (in hip hop, a type of jewelry worn over the teeth) are so last millennium.