The History of Dental Implants
Dental implant history dates back further than you may have guessed. The first dental implant is believed to occur more than 1300 years ago by the ancient Mayans. They used seashells to replace missing teeth to restore a woman's beautiful smile. Archaeology evidence also shows ancient Egyptians used seashells and ivory to replace teeth.
The path for modern dental implants originated in 1951 with a chance discovery by Professor Branemark a Swedish professor. Branemark had screwed a titanium cylinder into a thigh bone during an animal study. After the study was complete he noticed something remarkable, the bone had actually fused to the titanium cylinder without long-term soft tissue inflammation contradicting scientific theory of the time. He called the bone-titanium to bone fusion process osseointegration, and it Professor Branemark quickly realized the broad implications of his discovery and began focusing on how it could help humans.
During this research he found that titanium, under carefully controlled conditions, can be structurally integrated into the jawbone and used as anchors (behaving similarly to natural teeth roots) for artificial teeth.
Neil L. Starr, DDS, PC
1234 19th Street N.W. #306
Washington, DC 20036