A Brief History of Dental Implants


In modern dentistry, dental implants are one of the most effective solutions for replacing missing teeth. This procedure is said to enjoy more than 97% success rate in the long run. Dental implants are the best and most cost effective treatments to deal with tooth loss due to gingivitis, injuries, or periodontal diseases. This cosmetic procedure supports your surrounding teeth, stimulates natural bone function, restores your ability to chew properly and enhances your smile and confidence. Modern dental implants have become popular since the 1970s but this procedure has been used over thousands of years and here in this brief write-up we shall take a look at the history of dental implants.

Dental Implants History - San Diego Clinic

Early History of Dental Implants

The Chinese were the first people to try dental implants about 4000 years back when they carved bamboo pegs and inserted them in the gums to replace missing tooth.
The Egyptians kings were the first to experiment with copper pegs which were hammered into the upper jaws around 3000 years ago. These were however placed after their death before their bodies were put inside the tomb.
In 500 B.C. the Etruscans customized soldered gold bands to restore oral function in humans. They were also said to have experimented with animal bone to replace teeth.
Archeologists have discovered implants in ancient skulls belonging to the Mayan civilization dating back to 600 A.D. Here the teeth were replaced by different materials that included carved stones such as jade and fragments of seashells.
Iron was said to have been first used in France to replace missing teeth. 2300 year old skull found in a Celtic grave in France had iron teeth that were believed to have been hammered into the person post-death to improve his/her smile.
The above instances clearly point to the fact that early human civilizations experimented with different kinds of materials to replace missing teeth and restore the aesthetics of a full smile.

Developments in Industrial Age

Dental implants used today date their origin to the 18th century where researchers had experimented with gold and alloys to replace missing teeth. Though these experiments didn’t fetch desired results they laid the foundation for modern implant procedure. In the year 1886 a doctor used a porcelain crown mounted over a platinum disk becoming the first to use tooth colored porcelain for an implant procedure. The experiment failed as the body and the jawbone rejected foreign bodies. These failures however offered us quality knowledge that the implant needs to fuse with the jawbone in a process termed as osseointegration.

The Breakthrough

A breakthrough came in the year 1952 when Swedishorthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark accidentally discovered the importance of osseointegration. He was unable to remove the titanium cylinder that he placed in a rabbit femur while experimenting with bone healing and regeneration. He discovered that the bone had grown around the cylinder and fused around it. Encouraged by his success Brånemark, continued to experiment with animal and human subjects and placed the first titanium dental implant on a human volunteer in the year 1965 thus giving birth to modern dental implant procedure.

Over the last few decades, dental implant procedures have undergone considerable advancement and turned it comfortable and more cost effective. Today implants are made of high-grade titanium alloy screw and are fixed deep into the jaws. Few weeks of healing allows the screws to fuse into the jaws. Once the screw has fused to the jawbone a post is inserted with a crown on the top. As per the dental health specialists, this procedure enjoys a high rate of success with proper care and hygiene.