A pioneer in the field of dental implants passed away this month. Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark died in Sweden from an apparent heart attack at the age of 85.
Renowned for his work in dental surgery, bone grafting materials and dental implantology, Dr. Branemark discovered more or less by accident that the body doesn’t reject titanium as it does most materials. This discovery soon led him to develop the first modern dental implants.
As the New York Times put it, Branemark’s invention has helped many millions of people lead more productive and comfortable lives:
Implants have been a major advance in dentistry, liberating millions of elderly people from painful, ill-fitting dentures, a diet of soft foods and the ignominy of a sneeze that sends false teeth flying out of the mouth.
And the spread of Branemark’s dental anchor system soon led to a new secondary industry for dental materials, including Allograft bone grafts, cortical cancellous bone grafts, collagen products and many more. It wasn’t long before Branemark’s breakthrough was felt throughout all of medicine:
Titanium implants have spread well beyond dentistry: Osseointegration is now used in medical and veterinary applications.