Dental implants history

Brief History of Dental Implants

Dr. Jorge Zyman×

Orthopedics and Traumatology

Dr. Jorge Zyman is a distinguished figure in the field of Orthopedics and Traumatology, with a profound …  Read More


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To achieve a smile’s full function and beauty, having a natural and complete set of teeth in the mouth is ideal. However, when problems arise, tooth replacement solutions are a great way to restore the smile’s health and function. 

A dental implant is one way to achieve a restored smile after losing one or more teeth. 

Over time, dental implants have become a highly desirable way of restoring the smile and continue to be a popular choice among many patients. However, dental implants are not new. The history of dental implants dates back to the year 600 AD. 

Fortunately, today’s dental implants are far more advanced and reliable than the initial attempts to restore the smile with a permanent restoration. Let’s briefly examine the history and evolution of dental implants over the years.

Dental implants from 600 AD and onward

In China, approximately 4,000 years ago, missing teeth were replaced with bamboo pegs. These were fixed onto the bone. Later, Egyptians adopted a similar practice, but instead of bamboo pegs, they used precious metals carved and inserted into the bone of the jaw. 

The first metal implant, found in the remains of an Egyptian king, dates back to 1000 BC. Archeologists have also discovered several skulls with transplanted and artificial teeth made from gems such as jade or even elephant ivory.

In the 1930s, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, a skull discovered in Honduras included shells used to replace three missing teeth on the lower jaw. 

The shells were made to mimic natural tooth structure in the same way as today’s implants. Modeling replacement teeth to closely match the original ensures both function and aesthetics for patients in the 21st century. The findings in China, Honduras and Central American Mayan burial sites show that dental implants were developed long before more recent scientists and researchers discovered the materials used for dental implants in today’s society. 

Today, although the concept remains the same, the material used is what makes or breaks the success of a dental implant to fuse with the natural bone for strength and durability.

How have dental implants changed for the better over the years?

The primary concern, when it came to advancing dental implants as a mainstream option for patients, was how to bypass the body’s natural rejection of foreign material in the mouth. By the 18th century, professionals started using a blend of alloy and gold to create implants.  Although these initially failed, they opened the door to more successful research later. 

By the 1800s, dental researchers and professionals started experimenting with other types of materials to create dental implants. Some of these included porcelain and silver. Unfortunately, these materials did not stimulate bone growth through osseointegration, which is essential to ensuring the implant has fused with the bone for optimum function and reliability. 

Other materials, such as 24-karat gold, as attempted by Dr. E. J. Greenfield in 1913, also failed. Success was elusive until the Strock brothers observed the acceptance of Vitallium implants in hip bones and decided to apply this knowledge to dental implants. The Strock brothers are considered the first professionals to successfully place a dental implant into the jawbone of a human patient.

When did dental implants become the most popular method of tooth replacement?

Making dental implants from titanium started in 1952 with an orthopedic surgeon and researcher by the name of Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark. He performed a study on bone regeneration and healing by placing a titanium implant into the femur of a rabbit. 

Dr. Branemark found he was unable to remove it later because the titanium metal had fused with the natural bone. This led him to the conclusion that titanium was a reliable and accepted material by the body that could help with bone regeneration through a process later known as osseointegration. Osseointegration (fusing the bone to the implanted material) is essential to holding any implant firmly in place, in the same way the bone holds a natural tooth.

Continuing his experimentation, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark replaced a missing tooth in a patient in 1965 using a titanium implant. Its success was a fantastic breakthrough in the field of dental implantology, and set the foundation for dental implant design in today’s modern world. Since this discovery, titanium has been the primary material used to create dental implants for patients in dental offices worldwide.

How today’s dental implants steal the show!

In many instances, patients find titanium metal to be a reliable material for their dental implants. Dentists use high-grade materials to create implants that can be securely fixed into the jaw’s bone, ensuring a sturdy foundation for restorations over the abutment of the implant to complete the process. Although a few risks exist, many of these are avoided when placement is performed by an experienced dental implantologist, such as one of our team members at Hospital Excel. 

Patients find that the benefits of dental implants far exceed the risks and complications that can come with other tooth replacement options and consider the high success rate of titanium implants when deciding on the restorative solution best for their individual budgets, needs and lifestyle.

The process of obtaining dental implants requires approximately three general phases or steps, as reported by the American Dental Association:

Placement. First, our oral surgeon places the titanium implant into the bone of the jaw during surgery. Surgery is performed with proper anesthesia and sedation for patient comfort. Immediately after the surgery, our oral surgeon recommends a diet of liquid or soft foods as the area heals.

Osseointegration. Bone growth around the implant is needed to ensure a proper foundation for restorations. This occurs over several months as the jaw bone fuses with the implant. Osseointegration gives the implant a strong and durable feel before restoring the crown.

Restoration. After the area heals and the implant is firmly in place, restoration can occur over the implant’s abutment. Our dentists at Hospital Excel in Tijuana, Mexico, customize a restoration for the implant itself. This may include a crown, bridge, or denture, depending on the patient’s needs and how many teeth are being replaced. These are made with porcelain materials for natural, beautiful final results! Patients are educated by their dental provider on care for the dental implant in order to maintain its function and appearance for a lifetime.

If you are interested in determining if dental implants are a solution to repair your smile’s function and health, connect with our team for an evaluation at our Tijuana, Mexico, area facility.  

The success and reliability of modern dental implants

Today, dentists and other professionals consider dental implants a reliable and predictable restoration for missing teeth. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry reports that dental implants continue to have a success rate of over 95%. This makes them an excellent solution for those who desire permanent tooth replacement options they can trust. 

Dental implants can be used for multiple kinds of restorations, including dental bridges, dental crowns, and even complete conservative dentures, serving patients who are replacing one, several, or all their teeth in the smile. Current dental implants are available in many different materials, shapes, and sizes to meet the needs of the patient. These include metal and nonmetal varieties, such as titanium and zirconium. 

Dental implants seamlessly integrate with the bone, thus maintaining the jawbone and avoiding the sunken appearance of the jaw often associated with long-term denture wearers. 

In addition to being a reliable and permanent option for tooth replacement, dental implants also:

Maintain facial structure and appearance 

Prevent the loss of bone thanks to osseointegration after placement

Provide a beautiful and natural-looking restoration

Match existing teeth in shape, size, and color

Enhance one’s ability to eat and speak with confidence

WebMD reports that certain patients may not be ideal candidates for implants, which is why an initial evaluation and consultation appointment with a dental implantologist at Hospital Excel is best. 

It is important to keep in mind that heavy smokers, those with chronic disease, and those without healthy and sufficient bone are not ideal patients for dental implants. Talking with a professional at Hospital Excel is the best way to determine if you are a good candidate for permanent implants. 

How to find a dental implant dentist you can trust

At Hospital Excel in Tijuana, Mexico, we are pleased to provide dental implants for new and returning patients at our state-of-the-art practice supporting dental tourism. We know dental implants and other restorative dental work can be expensive in the United States, even with dental insurance coverage. 

Consider Hospital Excel for more affordable rates and quality restoration at a fraction of the cost! Call our office to learn more today!

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