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Tracing the Origin of Dental Implants in the History of Dentistry

Dental implants have become the first solution that people who are about to lose their teeth, consider as replacement option because of their many benefits. Actually the practice of replacing tooth with implants goes as far back as the earliest civilizations in 600 AD. In looking back, today’s dental implant replacement patients are luckier, because the technology has evolved into a safer,less painful procedure.

Based on how implant started, a complete set of teeth was historically as valuable for both aesthetic and functional reasons. Since teeth are of such importance, inventions of different teeth replacement solutions have been continuing for centuries until eventually the technology for dental implants was perfected.

What Exactly is a Dental Implant Surgical Procedure?

Modern-day dental implants are done via surgery wherein metal posts are placed into the jawbone to replace the roots of the extracted tooth or teeth. The metal post, usually made of titanium, is implanted into the jawbone by way of surgery. In a matter of months, and through a process called osseointegration, the jawbone and the titanium implant fuse together to serve as mount on which the artificial dentures will be attached.

However, it’s important that the body will not recognize the titanium implant as a foreign matter. If the metal and jawbone will not fuse together, the replacement dentures will not function well. Still, statistics reveal that the success rate for the dental implant surgery is around 98%. This is primarily because no patient can be considered as candidates for dental implant procedures, especially when the jawbone quality is compromised.

Evolution of Dental Implants from Ancient to Modern Day Dental Technology

Around 4,000 years ago in China, bamboo pegs were used and carved as a replacement for missing teeth. Around 2,000 years later, the Egyptians did the same but pinned precious metals instead into the jawbones.

The first recorded example of a metal dental implant was from an Egyptian King whom archaeologists dated as far back as 1,000 BC. Years later, archaeologists unearthed a lot of skulls with transplanted artificial teeth made of either jade or ivory.

Although many oral surgeons tried various materials, it was only in 1913 when brothers Moses and Alvin Strock took to using the hip bone implant Vitallium as dental implant material. Since the Vitallium metal fixtures lasted more than any other materialism, the brothers Strock were acknowledged as the first to successfully put an implant into the jawbone.

In 1952, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Dr. Per-Ingbar Brånemark found the right solution. Dr. Brånemark, who was then studying bone regeneration and healing, placed a piece of titanium into the femur of a rabbit. That was how he discovered titanium as the most useful metal in the field dental implant applications as titanium had highest success rate for fusion with human jawbone. After a few more years and more experiments, the global dental industry recognized Dr. Brånemark’s studies of titanium as the most significant discovery for dental implant surgery.