Contrary to popular belief, dental implants are by no means a 21st century invention. Their origins go much further back. To the 1800s? the 1700s? No, the history of dental implants can be traced back to Ancient China, circa 2000 B.C.!
The Earliest Traces of Dental Implants
Chinese archeologists have discovered 4,000-year-old jawbone fragments that were fitted with bamboo pegs to replace missing teeth.
In Ireland, an unearthed 2,300-year-old grave yielded a copper peg found alongside a jawbone and several dislodged teeth. Experts believed the peg was used as a replacement for a missing molar.
Archeologists studying Mayan artifacts have uncovered human skulls where missing teeth have been replaced with natural objects like carved stone and seashell fragments. Here’s the amazing part: these early forms of dental implants were actually successful. Like modern implants, those materials actually showed evidence of osseointegration—that is, fusing with the jawbone.
The History of Modern Dental Implants
The advent of modern dental implants can be credited to an orthopedic surgeon who made a surprising and completely accidental discovery. In 1952, the surgeon was using a small titanium cylinder to study how bone healed. When he let the cylinder sit against the bone over several days, he was astonished to find that it had partially fused with the bone.
The first successful titanium dental implant was successfully implanted by Swedish Physician Per-Ingvar Branemark on a human volunteer in 1965. Titanium is used to this day, though the material has been refined over the decades. Modern titanium implants are made from hollow screws and have roughened surfaces to improve fusion to the bone.
Get Fitted for a Modern Implant
Need an implant? Call 1895 Dental Implants. We can assure you that our participating dentists use high-grade titanium and not stone, bamboo, or anything our ancestors experimented with. We also provide advice on how to keep your implants in healthy condition once installed.
The history of dental implants is fascinating, and we are excited to see how these devices will evolve and improve in the coming decades.
Edited by Justin Vorhees
Modern and Up-to-Date Dental Implants
Serving patients in Seattle, Bellevue, Lynnwood, Everett, Redmond, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Auburn, Kent, Maple Valley, Renton, Mill Creek, Bothel, Covington, Puyallup and all of King and Snohomish Counties