While most people think of dental implants as a modern-day procedure, the truth is people have been experimenting with implants of various styles and materials for thousands of years. This drive to replace missing or failing teeth with artificial implants is said to have evolved from the desire to help people achieve a beautiful, healthy and fully functional smile.
But who were the first known peoples to utilize dental implants and what materials did they use? Let’s take a look at some brief interesting facts about dental implants through time:1, 2
· 4,000 Years Ago – The Chinese were the first known civilization to experiment with dental implants, which they fashioned by carving tooth-sized pegs out of bamboo.
· 3,000 Years Ago – The remains of ancient Egyptians dating back roughly 3,000 years ago were discovered with pegs similar to the implants used by the Chinese. Instead of using bamboo, the pegs used by the Egyptians were made of copper and other precious metals, and were actually fixed (e.g. hammered) into the individual’s jawbone, making them the first recorded civilization to use implants fixed to the jawbone.
· 2,300 Years Ago – A 2,300-year-old decorative implant was discovered in the mouth of a skeleton buried in a Celtic grave in France. Experts hypothesize this implant – which was held in place using an iron pin – was fitted to enhance the appearance of the individual’s smile after he or she died, seeing as the pain to have it hammered into the jaw while alive would’ve been excruciating beyond words. Similar implants were discovered in the teeth of ancient Romans as well, who used gold pins to hold the implant in place rather than iron.
· 2,000 Years Ago – People living a couple of millenniums ago typically replaced missing teeth in one of two ways: by purchasing teeth from slaves (or the poor), or using animal teeth. Because they came from another human or animal’s mouth, these kinds of replacement teeth were often rejected by the host’s body and/or would become severely infected.
· 1,350 Years Ago – In 1931, the remains of a young Mayan woman (dating back to roughly 630 AD) were discovered, and in her mouth were three missing incisors that had been replaced using pieces of seashell. The most fascinating takeaway from this archeological discovery is that bone growth was seen around two of these three “implants,” indicating the procedure was successful in improving both the aesthetics and functionality of the woman’s teeth/mouth.
· Present Day – The current, advanced state of dental implants is largely due to the research conducted by Swedish dental expert Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark. Through experimentation, he discovered titanium is capable of fusing with human bone (the process known as osseointegration), making it the perfect material for anchoring artificial teeth.
Later in the mid-1960s, Dr. Brånemark performed the very first dental implant procedure using a titanium post on a male patient who had a cleft palate, jaw deformities and zero teeth in his lower jaw. Thanks to these four durable titanium implants, the patient was able to comfortably and efficiently use his dentures all the way up until his death roughly 40 years later.
Greater Austin’s Trusted Source for Dental Implants
If you have any questions about the past or present state of dental implants or you’d like to find out if you’re a good candidate for this procedure, contact Silver Screen Dental to request a free implant consultation today. In addition to answering any and all of your questions regarding dental implants, we also offer the following services:
· Teeth Cleaning
· Teeth Whitening
· Dental Veneers/Lumineers
· Dentures and Partial Dentures
· Dental Crowns
· Dental Bridges
· Cosmetic Bonding/White Filling
· Tooth Extractions
· Bone Grafting Ridge Preservation
· Root Canals
· Sedation Dentistry