The History of Dental Implants

Tooth human implant

Here at Suburban Oral Surgery & Implant Center, we feel like patients should get a good understanding of what we do. This focus on patient education makes us a leader in oral surgery and dental surgery here in Bolingbrook.

While we tend to focus on the pre-op, surgical, and post-op process with patients, we want to shift the usual focus of patient education to the origins and innovations in the use of dental implants. You may be surprised to read this, but the history of implant dentistry is extremely fascinating

ANCIENT ATTEMPTS AT IMPLANT DENTISTRY

While you may think dental implants are a relatively new, there have been ancestors of modern-day dental implants in the ancient world.

Roughly 4,000 years ago, the is evidence that the ancient Chinese crafted bamboo pegs to replace a person’s missing teeth.

Evidence of metal false teeth also existed in the ancient world, with a copper tooth hammered into the jawbone of an Egyptian king roughly 3,000 years ago, and an iron false tooth found in a Celtic grave in France approximately 2,300 years ago. It’s unclear if these false teeth were placed during the person’s lifetime or after death as the process would be extremely painful.

Around 2,000 years ago, there is evidence of people trying to replace their missing teeth using animal teeth. In many of these cases, the replacement tooth would often be rejected.

EARLY 20TH CENTURY INNOVATIONS

The first real innovations in implant dentistry as we now know it occurred in the early 20th century. The Greenfield implant system was one of the first successful dental implant systems, which used an iridioplatinum implant capped by a gold dental crown. Many of these early implant systems failed since there was a limited understanding of the mechanisms behind implant rejection.

1952: THE IMPORTANCE OF TITANIUM

In 1950, research at Cambridge University used small titanium chambers implanted into the ears of rabbits. These chambers were not rejected. In 1952, Swedish physician Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark used that titanium chamber design in his own research into blood flow. He discovered that these titanium chambers had fused with bone of these rabbits.

Quite by accident, it was discovered that titanium had ideal properties that made it great for bone bonding and implant surgery. The 1950s would see many people using titanium in medical procedures to aid in fusing bone.

1965: THE FIRST TITANIUM IMPLANT IS PLACED IN A HUMAN

Building on his findings more than a decade before, Dr. Branemark placed the first dental implant in a human volunteer in 1965. He could continue to study the uses of titanium in the mouth given how many people could benefit from implant dentistry.

It is from Dr. Branemark that we get the term “osseointegration”, which describes the fusion between an implant and living tissue.

IMPLANT DENTISTRY TODAY: A HOST OF INNOVATIONS

The field of implant dentistry has built on the innovations of the mid-20th century, using new techniques in pain management and computer imaging to ensure fully customized care and well-optimized and planned dental alignment.

LEARN MORE ABOUT IMPLANT DENTISTRY

For more information about dental implants and whether or not they are a good option for you, be sure to contact our oral surgery and implant dentistry practice today. Our team will work with you to ensure that you get the help you need to have a healthy and beautiful smile.

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