In December last year, the father of the modern dental implant Per Ingvar Branemark died at the age of 85 in his hometown of Gothernburg, Sweden.

Before Branemark, scientists thought that metallic implants stayed in place because of mechanical retention. This means that implants must be anchored to wide areas of bone with multiple screws. Branemark and his team performed experiments on rabbits. They found that titanium oculars placed into the lower leg bones of rabbits could not be removed from the bones after a period of healing. This phenomenon was named osseointegration. With this understanding, dental implants could be as small as the root of a tooth.

Though many European dentists still swear by it, the design of the original Branemark system with its external hex, is probably outdated. Newer designs are more forgiving and easy to use. In spite of that, Prof Branemark will be remembered and respected as a pioneer in this field of dentistry by future generations of dentists.

Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee