In 1952, a Swedish professor named Per-Ingvar Brånemark made a scientific breakthrough that significantly changed the way Phoenix dentists install dental implants. At the time, Brånemark wasn’t thinking about dental implants at all; instead, he was attempting a study about blood flow in the bones of rabbits. He had placed small titanium devices into the femurs of several rabbits for the duration of his experiment. When he had completed his research, however, he discovered that he couldn’t remove the devices. After some close investigation and more experiments, he learned that living bones will grow so closely around titanium that the two substances practically fuse together. Brånemark called this phenomenon osseointegration. He quickly realized what kind of effect his discovery could have on the medical world, particularly in the field of dental implants. Up until this time, they had required extensive surgery and many Phoenix dentists considered them to be hazardous to their patients’ oral health. With the discovery of osseointegration (and the confirmation of this discovery by several independent researchers) dental implants became much safer and more permanent, and are now a standard part of most dental training curriculum.
At Harris Dental in Phoenix, patients still benefit from Dr. Brånemark’s research. When you receive new dental implants, your dentist will first take an x-ray to determine whether there is enough bone in the area to act as a foundation for the artificial root. This root is essentially a titanium screw which serves as an anchor for the restoration tooth, much like the roots of natural teeth do. Once the new root has had some time to heal and integrate with the bone, your dentist will attach a permanent replacement tooth or bridge of teeth to the titanium. Because the titanium root fuses with your existing bone, the replacement tooth will then be a permanent part of your smile.