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History of Dental Implants

The modern dental implant is an enormously successful invention, and science has proved its usefulness many times over when it comes to replacing missing teeth. Where did the idea of implants first come from? The answer may surprise you.

The first example of a dental implant actually dates back thousands of years. All the way back to the Mayan civilization. Archaeologists discovered sculls with restorations made of all kinds of materials including seashells and carved stones like jade. Even with these primitive methods, there’s evidence that the new tooth was placed deep enough to actually fuse with the jawbone over time.

The discovery of modern dental implant technology occurred in 1952, and like many great discoveries, it started out as a complete accident. A Swedish professor, Peter-Ingvar Brånemark, and his team were studying the healing process of bones, and at one point, a titanium cylinder had been screwed into an animal test subject’s thighbone. When he later tried to remove the cylinder, the doctor discovered he couldn’t because it had fused with the bone. The professor then decided to focus on using this quality (he called it osseointegration) to help people who’d undergone severe tooth loss. He continued his studies for around three decades, and commercial implantology began to grow in the 1980’s. Today, the modern dental implant is as successful and transformative as ever before!