Journal of Dental Implants
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2

From the Editor's desk

BDS and Diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication2-Apr-2015

Correspondence Address:
Rajiv S Khosla
BDS and Diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-6781.154409

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How to cite this article:
Khosla RS. From the Editor's desk. J Dent Implant 2015;5:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Khosla RS. From the Editor's desk. J Dent Implant [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Sep 22];5:1-2. Available from:

No one should have to die with their teeth in a glass of water beside their bed" said Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, and which became the war cry of dental Implantologists of the world. We will see that this does not happen, dear P.I. What better way than that to celebrate his life and his gift to mankind? Dr. Branemark, the Swedish physician and research professor whose accidental discovery made him the father of the modern dental implant, died on December 20 of last year, in Gothenburg, Sweden, his hometown. He was 85. He has inspired not just me but generations of dentists internationally. The man who made the world smile is no more. I still vividly remember seeing and hearing him speak passionately about his discovery at the Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi in the early nineties. We had all been spellbound.

Prof. Brånemark was a researcher, educator, clinician, and visionary. His career changed the practice of dentistry and also changed the world. Though he was not a dentist but an orthopedic surgeon, his contribution to dental implantology is never to be forgotten and he deserves the greatest respect from researchers in every biomedical field including dentistry, given his tremendous accomplishments of exploring the therapeutic effectiveness of implants and presenting the remarkable treatment modality to dental science. While performing orthopedic experiments on rabbit legs in 1952, Dr. Brånemark, a young 23-year-old researcher then, discovered that titanium fuses well with bone. What made it possible for him to grasp this new concept, which he later named "osseointegration," was his thoroughness in considering every factor in his studies, which most researchers could have easily overlooked under similar circumstances.

However, Dr. Brånemark's ongoing research on osseointegration was not well accepted at first because the mainstream of medical knowledge worked with the assumption that the human body is inhospitable to any kind of foreign material and that it often reacts with inflammation. Not surprisingly, the grant applications for his studies on bone-anchored implants were frequently rejected, which still did not stop him from pursuing his passion. Finally, he succeeded in winning funding from the United States National Institutes of Health. At the Toronto Osseointegration Conference in 1982, the new technology of machined titanium implants was introduced to all dental communities. After that more extensive application in clinical settings was possible.

Dr. Brånemark grasped the fundamental truth that edentulousness represents a significant and crippling disability, particularly for people who cannot tolerate dentures for some reason. He operated on his first patient 50 years ago, in 1965. The academic community was largely distrustful and hostile to the new approach. The debate was not put to rest until 1977, when three professors at Umeå University in Sweden announced that Brånemark's technique was the recommended first line treatment. Opposition in other countries eventually waned as well and dental implants, originally manufactured by a mechanic in the basement of the department of anatomy, scored one international triumph after another. Today, an estimated 20-25 million dental implants are installed every year, and a number of different academies including the Indian Society of Oral Implantologists, hold annual conferences attended by a large number of participants. The University of Gothenburg features a permanent exhibit on osseointegration technology, and there is a museum in Brånemark's honor at the Faculty of Stomatology of Xi'an Jiaotong University in Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. In addition, the P-I Brånemark Institute is in Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil.

Brånemark proved himself to be a charismatic educator. Once osseointegration was presented to the dental community, his was the primary voice to explain the formula. As a clinician, he demonstrated the techniques that were developed in his laboratory by operating at different centers throughout the world. Beyond the expansion of uses for implants in dentistry, Brånemark's vision extended to the field of orthopedics. Osseointegration is now utilized in dental, medical, and veterinary applications. Under Brånemark's leadership, physicians, dentists, and biologists would all investigate the interplay between bone and titanium. Together they developed careful, methodical techniques for the insertion of implants. At the same time, engineers, physicists, and metallurgists studied the metal's surface and how the design of the implant might have an effect on bone healing and growth.

Dr. Branemark was awarded the Swedish Engineering Academy's medal for technical innovation and the Swedish Society of Medicine's Söderberg Prize, along with many other honours and honorary degrees. He has also been bestowed with the Harvard School of Dental Medicine Medal for his work on dental implants in the United States and held more than 30 honorary positions throughout Europe and North America, including the honorary fellowship of the Royal Society of Medicine in the UK. In 2003, he received an honorary doctorate from the European University of Madrid. He was the winner of the European Inventor Award 2011 in the category lifetime achievement.

He meant his legacy to help patients with this miraculous medical breakthrough. This legacy was not meant to be limited by any geographic borders, or restricted to any social class level, but for the benefit all of mankind, forever. Although we must say farewell, we know that his legacy will always stay with us. Today, we mourn the loss of Professor Brånemark. At the same time, we celebrate the honor of having known him and thank our good fortunes for the knowledge that he provided.

For all of us who have been involved in dentistry for any significant period of time, Dr. Branemark's discovery and subsequent inventions have had a profound impact on us as well as our profession. In my opinion, this has been the greatest discovery in dentistry in our times. It's not often that someone of his brilliance walks this planet. He will be missed by many. May his soul rest in peace.

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Rajiv S Khosla


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