History of Dental Implants

Craig Goldin DDS Jan 12, 2020

Implant-supported dental crownWhile traditional dentures and bridges are effective for treating tooth loss, they don’t compare to dental implants. These artificial tooth roots provide optimal stability when in place. Countless patients in the greater Troy, Birmingham, and Bloomfield, MI area have come to the Cosmetic Dentistry Institute for their dental implant needs.

Dr. Craig Goldin, Dr. Marcy Goldin, and Dr. David Whalen would like to consider the origins of the dental implant. These artificial tooth roots have a longer and much more interesting history than you may have realized.

Ancient Tooth Replacement Attempts

People have been trying to replace missing teeth for centuries. Here are just a few notable examples that came before dental implants were attempted:

  • 2000 BC: The Chinese used carved bamboo pegs to fill gaps left by missing teeth.
  • 1000 BC: Archaeologists found a pharaoh who had copper pegs hammered into his jawbone. These pegs may have been placed after the pharaoh passed away.
  • 100 BC: Across the globe, humans have attempted to replace missing teeth with animal teeth or teeth from other people.
  • 800 AD: The Mayan and Honduran cultures created replacement teeth from stone. Centuries earlier, there’s evidence of Mayan false teeth made from seashells.

Early Attempts at Implant Dentistry as We Know It

The first attempts at dental implants as we know them today occurred in the early 20th century.

In 1913, Dr. E.J. Greenfield created an artificial tooth root made from a mixture of platinum and gold. This early dental implant failed since it was unable to merge with the existing jawbone tissue.

Drs. Alvin and Moses Strock created their own early dental implant not long after that, consisting of a chromium-cobalt alloy known as Vitallium. Like the previous implant attempt, it simply did not fuse with the jawbone.

1950s: A Breakthrough with Titanium

A major breakthrough in dental implants occurred almost by accident in the 1950s.

Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, a Swedish physician, was conducting research on rabbits. In a previous study, each rabbit had small titanium cylinder placed near their thigh bone (femur). Dr. Branemark found that removing the cylinder was difficult because the titanium had fused with the bone structure.

Dr. Branemark called this fusion “osseointegration.” This was the key missing in previous dental implant attempts.

1965: The First Successful Dental Implant

After continued research into osseointegration, Dr. Branemark finally placed the first successful dental implant in 1965. It was a major step forward in cosmetic and restorative dentistry, with many applications for dental surgery and other medical procedures.

Innovations Moving Forward

In the decades that followed, dental implants continued to grow in popularity and effectiveness. The biggest strides forward in terms of dental implants involve refinement of techniques and improvements in digital technology. Thanks to digital imaging and computers, dentists can precisely plan and place implants along the dental arch to ensure optimal stability and effectiveness.

Learn More About Dental Implants

Dental implants can make a difference for your dental health. To learn more about dental implants and why they may be the right option for you, be sure to contact a skilled cosmetic and restorative dentist. You can reach the Cosmetic Dentistry Institute by phone at (248) 519-1919.

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