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History of Dental Implants
 Diagram of dental implant with post
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that appear like screws. They are made of titanium or titanium alloys, and are placed into the jawbone beneath your gums.
An implant serves as an effective replacement for missing teeth by acting as a solid base for crowns. They help improve your smile, boost your confidence, and make chewing easier.

Ancient History


The earliest versions of dental implants were used in ancient China around 2000 B.C. At that time, missing teeth were replaced using carved bamboo pegs.
Around 1000 B.C, the body of an Egyptian king was found with a copper peg fixed into his upper jawbone. Although this may have been done for aesthetic reasons after his death, it is the first recorded evidence of metal being used to replace a tooth.

A false iron tooth was found amidst real teeth in a Celtic grave in France around 700 B.C. According to experts, this too may have been fixed post-death, as the pain of having it fixed into the jaw during a person’s lifetime would have been too excruciating without anesthetics in that era.
Similarly, evidence of tooth replacement have also been found dating back to the Mayan civilization around 600 A.D. Skulls discovered by archeologists show that teeth were replaced with various materials such as seashell pieces and carved stone.

Near 500 B.C., the Etruscans (Ancient Italians) made use of gold bands made from animals for tooth replacement purposes. Artificial teeth were also crafted from oxen bones.
Around 600 AD, the Mayans began installing shell pieces in the lower jaw (mandible), which are considered to be the first evidence of dental implants that are close to their modern day version. The radiographs of Mayan mandibles in the 1970s illustrate that the bone growth around the implants was similar to contemporary implants.

In ancient history, lost teeth were often replaced using teeth from animals or teeth bought from slaves and the poor. Today, an implant derived from an animal is known as a heteroplastic implant, while the one taken from another human is called a homoplastic implant.

Development of Dental Implants


Researchers began to make dental implants from gold and alloys in the 1700s. However, this experiment failed to provide a reliable solution for missing teeth. The next major development took place in 1886, when a doctor secured a porcelain crown on a platinum disc. This venture also did not succeed in the long run.

A Major reason for its failure was that the mouth kept rejecting the foreign material of the implant. Eventually in 1952, the properties required to make an implant fuse to the jawbone were discovered by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Brånemark.

During research regarding bone healing and regeneration, Brånemark found that a titanium cylinder was able to bond with the femur bone of a rabbit. This led him to conclude that a similar fusion could also be applied to other disciplines, such as dentistry. A titanium dental implant was first placed in a human volunteer’s jaw in 1965. The implant’s success quickly triggered improvement in tooth replacement methods.

Contact Us


If you have a tooth or two missing, consider getting dental implants. Schedule an appointment with us at Center for Advanced Periodontics and Implant Dentistry by calling us at 508-441-4154 today.
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