Unlike other branches of medical science (internal medicine, ophthalmology, cardiology, gastroenterology etc…), we know very little of the advances that have taken place in dental care and health in recent decades. This is quiet surprising considering that throughout the history of civilization, significant value has been seen in the presence of a complete set of teeth, both for functional and aesthetic reasons.

It is, of course, a different story that the Greek philosopher Aristotle is reported to have made a silly claim that men have more teeth than females. One wishes, why he didn’t ask his wife to open her mouth and count the teeth; remember he had two wives.

What is also less known and appreciated is the fact that after Bachelor in Dental Sciences (BDS), there are Post Graduate specializations in various fields – similar to medical sciences where after MBBS, one can earn MD / MS in Internal medicine, orthopaedics, dermatology etc... and super specialization - DM or DNB – in cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology etc...

In Dental Sciences the various Post Graduate specializations are:

PERIODONTICS (Gum specialist), PEDOONTICS (Child specialist), PROSTHODONTICS (Crown & denture specialists), ORTHODONTICS (Braces & wire specialists), ENDODONTICS ( Fillings & Root Canal), MAXILLOFICIAL SUGERY ( Jaws & face Correction) & IMPLANTOLOGY
Nowhere am I suggesting that a doctor with only MBBS or BDS degree can’t properly diagnose or treat a patient. There are thousands of doctors with basic qualifications who have served us reasonably well over the decades. There are other factors that make a doctor stand out apart from basic qualifications. It is the same with other professions: all the teachers in social sciences having similar qualifications do not necessarily excel as teachers. Nor do all those who pass out from IITs or IIMs!!!

My purpose is to highlight the fact that dental sciences has achieved high level of advancement in knowledge and sophistication – the latest being the birth of IMPLANTOLOGY. A dentist

In the eighteenth century, some researchers began to experiment with using gold and alloys to make dental implants. However, these did not prove to be very successful. In 1886, a doctor mounted a porcelain crown on a platinum disc, which also did not yield positive results in the long term. Dentures did serve the purpose of affording proper chewing but it was cumbersome to clean it and also embarrassing when it would slip out.

It was in 1952, a Swedish orthopaedic surgeon Per-Ingrvar Branemark stumbled across the particular properties of titanium needed for successful fusion into the jaw bone. The screw is secured to the jaw where the tooth should be and after a period of healing to allow the screw to fuse to the jawbone, a crown can be inserted over the screw. It takes 4-6 months for an implant to merge with the jaw bone. Any qualified dentist who has either studied it or taken special training/course in implantology can perform this procedure.

The first titanium dental implant was placed in a human volunteer in 1965. The success of the first titanium dental implant quickly led to significant improvement in the techniques used for tooth replacement.

Dental implants have revolutionized the face of dentistry. There is virtually no pain except that the treatment is heavy on the wallet. Depending on the make, implants are available from Rs.20,000 - 40,000 per one piece – though the ones made by DRDO are available marginally cheaper. However, the key advantage of implants is that with proper care and the quality of material used, it can last more than 20 years or so...

(I acknowledge with deep gratitude Col S.S.Pandey ( Maxillofacial surgeon) & Dr. Abhinav Sharma ( Prosthodontics) who took pains to explain me the benefits of implants before I gave my consent.) 

By - Ashok Ogra
  Media Expert 

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September 13, 2022 at 6:47 PM ×

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