The History of Dental Implants

Dental implantsDental implants are one of the most effective treatments for permanently restoring missing teeth and enhancing the smile.

At Premier Dental and Implant Center, Dr. Yamen Akhras provides patients the latest techniques in dental implant treatment. Modern dental implants are highly successful at replacing missing teeth, but this wasn't always the case. Find out more in this brief overview of the history of dental implants from our practice in Orland Park, IL.

Dental Implants Have Roots in the Ancient World

The idea of replacing missing teeth with an artificial tooth is not new, but has been around since ancient times. Evidence of rudimentary dental implants has dated back to 2000 BC when archaeologists unearthed bamboo pegs believed to have been used to replace missing teeth in ancient China. It's not clear how successful bamboo pegs were as rudimentary dental implants or how often they were used.

Other ancient civilizations attempted to replace missing teeth with animal teeth, human teeth, and shells.

The Mayans may have been most successful using shells as a form of dental implant. In the 1930s, archaeologists found a Mayan skull dating back to 600 AD. In the lower jaw of this skull were three shells shaped like teeth. The jawbone around these shells showed signs that the bone healed around the implants.

From this, we can assume that the shell implants used by the Mayans were somewhat successful at replacing missing teeth.

Dental Implants in the 1800s Paved the Way for Modern Treatment 

Not much advancement in dental implant technology occurred until the 1800s. It wasn't until this time that any real effort was made to create dental implants that would last a long time and successfully anchor within the jaw.

Most often, metals, such as gold and platinum, were used as dental implants. Unfortunately, the jawbone cannot bond with these types of metals, which left dental implant treatment in the 1800s rather unsuccessful. 

Although dental implant treatment often failed, the discoveries of the 1800s helped make modern dental implants a reality.

Osseointegration: The Key to Dental Implant Success

A major discovery around the 1950s by Swedish orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark revolutionized dental implant treatment.

Dr. Brånemark was performing a study of bone regeneration and healing in which a titanium ocular, or lens, was placed within a rabbit's tibia and fibula. When Dr. Brånemark attempted to remove the titanium ocular, it would not budge.

As the bone healed, it bonded with the titanium. Dr. Brånemark described this as “osseointegration,” a process in which the bone tissue integrates and fuses with a foreign material.

In 1965, and after further research, Dr. Brånemark placed the first titanium dental implant into a person, blazing the way for successful dental implant treatment. His work with osseointegration and dental implants is largely regarded as one of the most significant breakthroughs in modern dentistry.

Today's Dental Implants Provide Permanent Relief

Thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Brånemark, dental implants are widely available for permanently replacing one or more missing teeth.

Today, dental implants may be paired with a dental crown to replace individual teeth, a dental bridge for multiple teeth, or implant-supported dentures for a full arch of missing teeth. With proper care, modern dental implants can last a lifetime.

Find out More About Dental Implants

If you suffer from tooth loss, dental implants may be right for you. To learn more about your treatment options, please call (708) 873-9709 to schedule a consultation.