Throughout the course of human history, the presence of a full set of teeth has been highly valued, serving both practical and aesthetic purposes. This universal appreciation has inspired people from different cultures to find ways to replace missing teeth, eventually resulting in the development and utilization of dental implants.
As far back as 2000 BC, early forms of dental implants were utilized in ancient China. During this period, carved bamboo pegs were employed as substitutes for missing teeth.
The earliest documented instance of a metal replacement tooth dates to around 1000 BC in ancient Egypt. An Egyptian king had a copper peg hammered into his upper jawbone, although it remains uncertain whether this peg served as a tooth replacement during his lifetime or was inserted posthumously.
In France, archaeological excavations unearthed a Celtic burial site with an iron false tooth believed to have originated around 300 BC. Experts, however, speculate that it was more likely inserted into the jaw after death for aesthetic purposes, as the pain of installing it during life would have been excruciating.
Throughout ancient history, it was relatively common to replace missing teeth with teeth sourced from animals or other individuals. Today, a dental implant obtained from another human is categorized as a homoplastic implant, while one obtained from an animal is considered a heteroplastic implant. The risk of infection and implant rejection is higher for dental implants originating from another person or an animal.
Archaeologists have also discovered various other materials within the jaws of ancient skulls, ranging from rare gems like jade to common materials such as seashells.
Although dental implants represent a relatively recent advancement in the realm of dental care, the issue of tooth loss is far from new. This historical evidence indicates that tooth loss was a significant concern among individuals in ancient civilizations. As historical records show, attempts were made to tackle this problem.
Significant advancements in dental implant techniques did not occur until centuries later.
Developments in Dental Implant Techniques
During the 18th century, some researchers-initiated experiments involving the use of gold and various alloys to create dental implants. However, these attempts proved to be largely unsuccessful.
In 1886, a doctor placed a porcelain crown on a platinum disc, but this also did not yield favorable long-term results.
The primary challenge that plagued these early efforts was the rejection of foreign body dental implants. For an implant to be successful, it necessitates the fusion of the replacement tooth with the surrounding bone, a process known as osseointegration.
In 1952, an orthopedic surgeon discovered the specific properties required for successful fusion. While conducting a study on bone healing and regeneration, he observed that a titanium cylinder fused with the femur bone of a rabbit. This discovery led him to hypothesize that this fusion could be applied to other fields, including dental implants. In 1965, the first titanium dental implant was implanted in a human volunteer by an orthopedic surgeon named Branemark.
The success of the initial titanium dental implant quickly prompted significant advancements in tooth replacement techniques. This progress involved the use of a titanium alloy screw, typically featuring a rough surface believed to enhance the osseointegration process. The screw is affixed to the jaw where the tooth is intended to be replaced, and after a healing period to allow the screw to fuse with the jawbone, a crown can be placed over the screw.
The Present and Future
Currently, dental implants are regarded as the most advanced option for addressing tooth loss, boasting a long-term success rate of up to 97% in certain dental clinics.
They represent the sole presently accessible solution that can consistently provide support to adjacent teeth and promote the natural generation of bone. By accomplishing this, they have the capability to fully restore an individual’s smile and overall self-assurance.
Take the First Steps Today
Get a professional opinion from our DFW implant experts as to whether you need a single or multi-tooth implant treatment. Call ARCHPOINT Implant Dentistry today to reserve an exam at our location in Dallas, Southlake or Ft. Worth.