The use of dental implants to replace missing teeth has been widely used throughout human history, dating back to the Mayan civilization. Remains have been discovered from 600AD showing the earliest known examples of implants embedded into the jaw. In such ancient times, shell and bone were used to replace teeth however modern technology uses dental implants made of titanium to secure replacement porcelain teeth to the jaw.
This modern phase of implant dentistry dates from the 1950s when scientists first realized the bio compatibility of titanium. Though originally thought most suitable as a material for use in hip transplants and knee surgery, doctors soon realized its value in dental restorations.
Titanium is bio compatible and when used in dental restoration it effectively fuses with the patient’s bone. Titanium is now used in a variety of dental prostheses including implants supporting bridges and dentures, individual teeth replacements and whole rows of missing teeth
The “all on 4″ dental implant procedure is an innovative approach to replace a full arch of missing teeth. The name speaks for itself with “all” referring to the fact that the complete arch of teeth is being replaced and “4″ referring to the number of dental implants required to support the fixed denture.
The solution is innovative in requiring only four implants to support a whole new arch. Previous treatment required 6 to 8 implants to achieve the same results. The technique stems from collaborations with implant manufacturer Nobel BioCare and renowned implant dentist Paulo Malo in the early 2000s. It builds on the work of Swedish Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark in the 1950s, who first discovered that titanium was an ideal material for dental implants due to its ability to fuse with bone.
Brånemark’s work heralded a new age for the science of dental implants, bringing a discipline that had been shunned by many to the centre stage of the world of dentistry. The development of the first ever dental implants has created a new industry, and over 7 million patients have since been treated with his patented solutions for tooth loss.
Dr Marlo’s innovation was to discover that by inserting two of the implants at a 45 degree angle he could increase the strength of the bridge while reducing the number of implants needed. This makes the procedure available to many who were unable to follow previous treatment protocols due to the need for bone transplants to reinforce the existing jaw. As tooth loss can often be accompanied by loss of bone in the jaw, transplants were necessary to fix the implants. With the “all on four” system, existing bone can be used, even after some bone loss.
Dr Marlo’s procedure has gone on to be performed widely around the world. As it reduces the need for extensive surgery and enables the process to be carried out in one session, it’s a big step forward for those in need of dental implants. This means a patient can enter surgery with missing or damaged teeth and leave the same day with a complete set of replacements.