How Dental Implants Have Changed Throughout History

Dental Implants

Dental implants are an excellent and long-term solution to missing teeth. Although modern dental technology is relatively new, implants have actually been used for thousands of years throughout history. From ancient civilizations to the 21st century, dental implants have evolved a great deal.

Ancient Civilizations

Researchers have found evidence of dental implants dating back about 4,000 years ago to ancient China. People in ancient times likely replaced missing teeth to be able to chew food more easily. The ancient Chinese used bamboo pegs carved to the shape of teeth as implants.

Archaeologists have found remains from Egyptian kings from about 3,000 years ago that have copper pegs tapped into the jaw bone to replace teeth. Egyptian mummies have also been found with teeth made of ivory and precious metals. Some mummies even have transplanted human teeth.

In the 1930s in Honduras, a scientist discovered the jaw of a Mayan woman that dated back to 600 A.D. Three missing teeth were replaced with shells that had been carved to look like teeth. From the way the shells were carved and placed, scientists believe that these implants were used both for functionality and to improve the woman’s appearance.

18th and 19th Centuries

The practice of dentistry became more common in the 1700s, and dentists began experimenting with implants made of gold and alloys. In most cases, these experiments were unsuccessful. In the early 1800s, some companies began commercially manufacturing porcelain teeth. However, these implants still had limited long-term success.

Modern-Day Technology

In 1913, the American dentist Edwin Greenfield performed the first modern implant. His method, which was known as the Greenfield implant system, involved attaching a platinum implant to a gold crown. This allowed the tooth to fuse to the bone, which resulted in a longer-lasting implant. Greenfield’s discovery was the start of modern dentistry and was followed by many more advancements.

Today, most dental implants are made out of titanium. The effectiveness of titanium was discovered in the 1950s by Per-Ingvar Branemark, an orthopedic surgeon who was studying bone regeneration. After keeping a rabbit femur in a titanium chamber for his experiment, he discovered that the bone had fused to the titanium. After more research and experimentation, Branemark performed the first titanium implant procedure on a live human patient.

Over the past several decades, researchers have improved this implanting method. Today, the vast majority of implants are made of a titanium alloy with a roughened surface that helps it fuse to the bone. After the titanium is attached to the jaw, a crown is placed on top. This method is much safer, more comfortable, and longer-lasting than older methods. If you think you may benefit from dental implants, you should speak to a dentist like dental implants Toronto to determine if it is right for you.

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