|History of Dental Implants
We have numerous instances strewn across history, letting us know that the concept of dental implants dates back to around 2500BC. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian manuscripts relay countless references to toothaches. In fact, the body of an Egyptian King from 1000BC had a copper peg in place of a tooth in the upper jaw. However, there is no way to tell whether the tooth was hammered in while the King was alive or after his demise. There are many more similar instances and discoveries showing the use of gold, ivory, and many other materials, as teeth replacement, by various civilizations across the globe. However, the first known functional tooth implant dates back to the Mayan civilization from 600AD.
Archeologists received countless skulls with various materials in place of teeth, including wood, stones, jewels, and shells, the most successful one. The Mayans carved shells to replace missing teeth, and surprisingly, the shells fused with the bone to form a functional and sturdy structure. The research continued, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that gradual scientific progression resulted in the first modern dental implants. Here we trace the history of dental implants and their gradual evolution.
1600 to 1800s
1600 to 1800 is truly the experimental stage where numerous researchers tried and failed to create a functional dental implant. During this period, doctors collected teeth from underprivileged people for transplantation among humans. In the 1700s, Dr. John Hunter implanted a developing tooth into a rooster and found that the implant was successful. The blood vessels grew right into the pulp, and the tooth merged with the jaw bone naturally. During the same period, J Maggiolo tried to plant a gold tube into the root. The gum was allowed to heal before he added a crown, but the experiment failed as the patient suffered from substantial inflammation and pain. Many other researchers experimented with various metals, including gold, silver, iridium, and porcelain. Not many were successful.
1900s – the Birth of the Modern Implants
The work in the early 1900s wasn’t very fruitful, and the first fifty years of the 20th century passed without any results to show for it. In 1952, Dr. Branemark accidentally made an unexpected scientific discovery. During his study on blood flow in rabbits, he placed a titanium chamber in their bones. Over time he discovered that titanium fused with the bone completely and thus ended up discovering the concept of osseointegration.
In 1978, Branemark introduced a two-piece titanium implant system, which he termed fixtures. He then carried out the very first well-documented dental implant procedure. However, the fixture causes severe jaw and bone deformities and ended up ruining teeth alignment. Throughout the 1980s, various names, including Dr. Schroder, Dr. Straumann, Dr. Tatum, Dr. Niznick, and Dr. Driskell, continued experimenting and introducing different types of implants. Over time, doctors started taking into account variables factors when choosing the metal, including prosthetic, ease of insertion, surface roughness, cost, and more.
Today, the dental implant procedure is completely safe and offers a permanent solution to replace missing teeth. It offers numerous advantages over other restorative dentistry procedures such as dental crowns, dental bridges, dentures, and more. At Dr. Julie Phillips Prosthodontics, we provide restorative dentistry treatments to help restore your oral and dental health to optimal condition. Reach out to us for a consultation today.