DENTAL IMPLANTS: The How? Why? And When? For Technicians and Implants.
There are many examples of , from various parts of the world, clearly showing man’s use of artificial replacement teeth hammered into the jawbone of the recipient and scientific study indicates the integration with the surrounding bone. One of the earliest examples of dental implants in the European area is a first century Roman soldier who had an Iron “molar” driven into his jaw to replace a missing natural tooth and examination suggested it had been there and integrated for some little while “obviously an important person of the time”. The picture
is of the remains of a 6th Century Colombian princess who has had artificial teeth shaped from sea shells and driven into the lower jaw to replace missing originals.
Again scientific examination revealed the on growth of bone and integration within the Jaw. The simplistic response to missing teeth reveals a basic desire from those affected to restore as naturally as possible.
The beginning of predictable artificial tooth restoration came with the introduction of sub-periosteal frames cast in cobalt chrome alloys and sometimes treated with Negative gamma-rays (to destroy the impurities) and fixed on the crest of the mandible with retention posts emerging through the oral tissues to accept the Acrylic reconstruction, usually after several months healing dental implants . Some of these restorations survived for a considerable time but far too many failed and the technique was eventually abandoned, by most operatives toward the end of the 20th Century. Although some centres still continue with this technique today.
Other scientific examinations continued in various parts of the world and Professor Andrea Schroeder (working in Switzerland) published his impressive study of the process of implant integration and showed Osseo-integration or Functional Ankylosis, as he named it, could confidently be expected to be complete in as little as three months with no need for the implant to be buried. His work suggested the surface of the implant, should be roughened (to increase surface area) with a polished collar emerging through the soft tissue. His findings have been proved to be right and modern implant design incorporates several of the design principles of his published work. Many others have, since these early years, researched and published various designs and a great multitude of implant manufacturers have emerged across the world each one claiming the best design.
The truth is probably the number who have truly published in refereed journals and have done sufficient research for that publication are very few indeed but the force of marketing can make most things successful. The Technicians role is to follow the protocols of the implant system and to use the original components of the system. Particularly today in our role as registered DCPs, responsible directly to the patient, it would be asking for trouble to use a copycat or counterfeit parts knowingly. The choice of system is in the hands of the Clinician but the protocols of the chosen system must be adhered to and any choice to use other than the manufacturers parts will breach the protocol and probably void any patient’s guarantee from the manufacturer.