In today’s world, dental implants are considered the most advanced solution for tooth restoration. Technology is helping dental and oral health clinicians provide faster, more accurate, and well-rounded treatment to their patients. Before the invention of modern dental implants in 1952, people sought treatment for replacing teeth using a variety of methods. Through decades of scientific research and clinical practice, researchers improved implant design and functionality. Throughout the history of civilization, people have tried to replace teeth for functional and aesthetic reasons. For a historical look at the development of dental implants, read below.
Early Days of Dental Implants
In 2000 BC, it was customary practice for carved bamboo pegs to replace missing teeth in China. Around 1000 BC, an Egyptian king had a copper peg hammered into his jawbone. This is considered the first recorded case of a metal tooth replacement being inserted into the jawbone. During an archaeological dig in France, a fabricated tooth made of iron was discovered in a Celtic grave in 300 BC. Researchers believe that the iron tooth was replaced after death because the pain of hammering the metal into the jaw without modern-day anesthesia would have been unbearable for the patient. Only 2000 years ago, it was common practice to try and replace a tooth using an animal tooth or a tooth from someone of a lower social status. These implants were most likely rejected due to infection and decay. It was not until centuries later that significant developments were made in the field of dental implants,
Emergence of Modern-Day Dental Implants
As with many scientific advances, the discovery of how modern-day implants was stumbled upon by accident. In 1952, a Swedish physician and researcher noted that he could not remove a small titanium cylinder he had placed in the lower leg of rabbits. He placed the titanium in the rabbit’s leg to study how blood flow affects bone healing. Upon removal of the metal, he discovered that the titanium had fused to the bone and could not be removed.
The special property of bone integration, called osseointegration, is the biological basis of modern implants’ success. With this knowledge, the Swedish physician knew the body could tolerate the long-term presence of titanium, and thus titanium could be used as an anchor for artificial teeth.
What the Future Holds
Currently, dental implants have over a 95% rate in most practices and patients. Technicians can now individualize implants to suit a patient’s specific needs. Implants can be made from a variety of materials and placed in a variety of different ways and locations depending on desired aesthetics and functionality. Right now, the dental world is experiencing another massive breakthrough in the form of digitally guided implants. With the right tools, dentists can now virtually diagnose and treat cases before ever touching the patient. This lessens the margin for unexpected errors and outcomes during surgery. Dentist can design and print surgical guides from their office or outsource it to a dental laboratory, like DDS Labs. CAD/CAM restorations are becoming the norm, making patient care simpler and faster than ever before. With the help of surgical guides, digital impressions, and 3D models, treatment plans can be catered specifically to the patient and executed efficiently and accurately. In a hundred years from now, it is theorized that robot-assisted implantation will be the norm.
Dental implants have come a far way. If you wish to discuss current dental implant procedures in more detail, our experienced technical team is here to assist you.