History of Dental Implants
Dental implants seem like newer technology, and to a certain degree, this is true. The first modern successful dental implant procedure – as we know it – happened over fifty years ago, in 1965. However, human beings have been experimenting with dental implants for thousands of years, finding unique and creative ways to address their tooth loss even before anesthetic was even invented.
From ancient China to today, there is a rich and diverse history to dental implants, and we here at Tieken Smiles Dentistry never cease to marvel at the ingenuity of humanity and the various ways they tried to restore their smile before they had the advanced technology and resources that we possess today.
A Look at the Fascinating History of Dental Implants: 4000 BC to Today
Vanity about one's smile is no new invention. We have always been a proud species, always wanting to put our best face forward. Even humans from 4,000 years ago knew this. A missing tooth not only negatively impacted your appearance, but it could also make eating and chewing more difficult. This was incredibly important to our ancestors, who knew their livelihood and survival depended on being able to get enough food. That was probably why the first dental implant was introduced in China around 2,000 BC. Back then, however, they were using carefully carved bamboo pegs to replace their missing teeth.
Losing a tooth could be a cause of shame in ancient Egypt, too. During that era, the Egyptians had many beliefs about the afterlife, which is probably why they hammered ornately decorated copper pegs into the skulls of the deceased. Archeologists found a king whose remains date back 3,000 years who had a copper implant placed in his head and strongly suspect this was placed post-mortem. This is also the first recorded evidence of using metal for an implant.
Around 100 B.C., archaeologists found evidence that people were trying to replace their missing teeth with teeth that were "borrowed" from other people or animals. These "donors" were often poor people or slaves, or they were taken from their domestic or wild animals. While the idea seems like it might have worked, of course, it did not. The human body rejected these implants, too.
The first successful attempt at a dental implant was found in some Mayan ruins that date back around 1,350 years. These people attempted to replace their missing teeth with pieces of shell. While archeologists originally thought that these shell fragments were placed after the person had died, they later discovered that bone had grown around the shell. This is the first evidence of osseointegration, the key aspect of modern titanium dental implants that help them remain strong and sturdy in your mouth.
Throughout the 1800s, dentists experimented with different types of metal to see if the implant would fit or be rejected. They were met with failure again and again. It took until the 1960s before a surgeon named Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark discovered that human bone and titanium got along great. This launched the progression of implant surgery throughout the end of the 21st century and up into today. The rest, as they say, is history!
Are You Interested In Dental Implants
The history of dental implants is both diverse and extremely interesting, and is something that never bores us here at Tieken Smiles Dentistry! To learn more about dental implants, or to set up an appointment with us, please give us a call at (281) 942-0444 today!