I want to share with you a little story. Six hundred years ago, a Mayan woman in her mid-20s was embarrassed by three missing teeth. She hid her smile, even at Hanal Pixan festivals. She asked the local medicine man what to do about the missing teeth, and he suggested dental implants. Well, he suggested replacement teeth. The medicine man looked around his home and found three small shell fragments that, if he held his eyes just right, kind of resembled human teeth. He secured the shells into the woman’s jaw, and successfully placed the first dental implants.
Okay, this is a dramatization. The truth is, there was a Mayan woman who died in her 20s. She was excavated in 1931, and the shells in her jaw were thought to have been secured after her death. However, 40 years later, upon further investigation, evidence of osseointegration was detected on x-rays. Osseointegration is the process of bone fusing with a substance; in this case, the shells. Bone cannot grow when one is dead, so scientists believe that the shell implants were placed during the woman’s lifetime.
Now let’s move to 1952. Dr. Leonard Linklow, just four months out of dental school, successfully placed the first dental implant in a human. Between 1952 and 1992, it is said that Dr. Linklow placed nearly 20-thousand dental implants. Linklow is considered by many to be the “father of modern implant dentistry.”
Today, state-of-the-art materials, technology, and procedures have made dental implants 96-98% successful as a means of replacing one or many missing teeth. A single titanium implant post can secure a dental crown throughout one’s life. A few implants can anchor a bridge, partial, or full denture.
People of all ages who are missing their natural teeth can turn to implants as a stable, lasting, and natural looking prosthetic. As an implant dentist, Dr. Fondriest works with specialists in the Libertyville, Gurnee, Deerfield, and Lake Forest area to plan and complete dental implant cases. If you’d like to discover how dental implants might make you love your smile again, even at a Hanal Pixan festival, call our office in the North Suburban Chicago area today.