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Lucy Stock is a columnist for the Irish News

Implants Have Come A Long Way

by Lucy Stock BDS DipImpDent RCS (Eng)

Published in the Irish News . 16.10.2013

Results from large international clinical trials provide dentists and patients with a new level of confidence in dental implants.

We tend to think of dental implants as a modern marvel. But what many people don’t realize is that the idea behind dental implants has been around for centuries. In fact, the very first dental implant is attributed to the Mayans of Central and South America and dates back to 600 AD. An archaeologist discovered a jaw bone that contained tooth-shaped seashells and jade inserted into the sockets that once held the teeth. Ancient Egyptian mummies have also been unearthed with gold wires implanted in their jawbones. In the Middle East, skeletons have been found with ivory implants. Most recently, anthropologists discovered an iron implant in the jawbone of a Roman soldier.

Nowadays the dental implants have advanced to specialized titanium replacement roots which can attach a lab made crown and thus replace one tooth or multiple missing teeth. The long term success rate of implants is continuing to improve. This is backed up by new results from large international clinical trials provide dentists and patients with a new level of confidence in dental implants. Results from two of the largest international clinical studies performed to date with dental implants have just been published and demonstrate excellent clinical performance. Together, the studies have evaluated more than one thousand Straumann implants in Europe, the US and Australia. The scope of these studies is particularly remarkable in view of the fact that most dental implant companies do not conduct clinical trials because they want to cut costs and do not have the capabilities. The studies are also remarkable in that they both reported very high implant survival rates of more than 98% with practically no bone loss around the implants. 

There are so many different techniques in modern implant dentistry that even people who feel that their mouth is hopeless can now be treated. Implants can help to stabilise loose dentures and prevent them popping up on speaking or eating. This brings the added bonus of ending the social embarrassment which comes with a loose plate. With high success rates and implants lasting long term, patients are able to enjoy the benefits that implants bring every day for years to come.