History of Dental Implants By Mike Meek, DDS on December 23, 2019

Dental implantDental implants are the most advanced form of tooth loss treatment offered to our Austin, TX patients at 38th Street Dental. Dental implants replicate the roots of a missing tooth to stimulate the jaw and prevent bone loss. Dental implants can support a full range of dental restorations.

Many people today benefit from the advantages that dental implants provide, but that hasn’t always been the case. Dental implants as we know them have only been around for about 50 years. Here, patients can learn a little about the history of dental implants that has led to the advanced tooth loss treatment available today.

Tooth Loss Treatments

Although dental implants have not been around for very long, tooth loss treatments date back to ancient civilizations. There are various archeological findings and historical texts that show people have been attempting to solve the problem of tooth loss since the beginning of mankind.

One of the earliest forms of tooth loss treatment stems back to ancient China, around 2000 BC. The Chinese carved pieces of bamboo into the shape of small pegs, and placed them along the jaw line to replace missing teeth.

The Egyptians and French used similar techniques to create pegs of copper and metal. Excavations of Egyptian and French tombs have actually found individuals with these metal pegs hammered into their jaw. However, it is most likely that the pegs were hammered in post-mortem, as the procedure would have been extremely painful if the person was alive.

Other materials that have been used throughout time to address tooth loss include:

  • Animal bones or teeth
  • Human bones or teeth
  • Wood
  • Shells
  • Gems or stones
  • Gold and silver

The Osseointegration Process

What sets dental implants apart from all the other tooth loss treatments that have been used throughout history, and even from the other tooth loss treatments available to our Austin patients today, is the osseointegration process.

Dental implants are surgically placed in the jaw. As the body heals, tissues in the jaw grow around the implant, essentially fusing it to the bone. This process, which is called osseointegration, gives dental implants their advanced strength and stability, and allows implants and the restorations they support to function and be cared for like the natural teeth.

The process of osseointegration was discovered in 1952 when an orthopedic surgeon, Per-Ingvar Branemark, was experimenting with bone healing. The surgeon was using rabbits to evaluate how bones heal and regenerate. During the experiment, he placed a titanium rod into a rabbit bone. When the experiment was complete, he found that the rod could not be removed, because it had fused with the bone. This was the first recorded discovery of osseointegration.

Introducing Dental Implants

It wasn’t long before Branemark began to consider the potential applications of osseointegration. In 1965, Branemark performed the first dental implant procedure on a human volunteer. The process was very similar to the treatment still offered to our Austin patients today. Branemark implanted a small titanium rod into the patients jaw and used it to support a dental restoration. The procedure was a success and dental implant treatment quickly earned its reputation in the dental field.

Since that first procedure, dental implant treatment has remained remarkably similar. One of the only major changes is that the implants placed today are titanium screws instead of rods. This shape encourages osseointegration and provides a more stable anchor for our dental patients.

Contact Us

Today, dental implants are one of the most trusted and popular forms of tooth loss treatment. If you would like to learn more about the dental implant process, and how these restorations can help you rebuild your smile, send us a message at your earliest convenience. You can also call (512) 458-6222 to schedule an appointment at 38th Street Dental.

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