Hawaii Pacific Dental Group, Inc.

History of Dental Implants

By Dr. Rohinton J. Patel on October 31, 2018

Digital image of dental implants on plain white surfaceAt Hawaii Pacific Dental Group, we offer a wide range of general dentistry treatments, as well as restorative, cosmetic, and preventative. One of the most common treatments offered at our Honolulu, HI practice is dental implant placement.

Dental implants are widely considered the most successful option for teeth replacement, offering unparalleled reliability and longevity. Here, Dr. Rohinton J. Patel explores the history of dental implants and explains how the modern techniques we use today came into practice.

Ancient History of Dental Implants

The earliest known versions of dental implants were carved bamboo pegs. Ancient Chinese civilizations used these to replace missing teeth.

The first metal replacement tooth was discovered on the body of an Egyptian king in approximately 1000 BC. His maxilla included a copper peg that had been driven into the bone. However, archaeologists are not certain if the peg was placed while he was still alive or after his death.

As time went on, individuals replaced missing teeth with extracted teeth from other humans or animals. These implants had an incredibly high risk for infection. Even so, this custom (surprisingly) remained in practice until the 18th century.

Several materials were apparently used to replace teeth throughout ancient history. Archaeologists have discovered everything from sea shells to wood to rare gems embedded in the jaws of our ancestors.

Dental Implants in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Beginning in the 18th century, some dentists tried replacing teeth with gold or alloy posts. In the 19th century, one dentist tried attaching a porcelain crown on a platinum disc.

These attempts were not successful, however, as these metals were not biocompatible. As a result, they did not integrate with the jawbone.

Dental Implants in the 20th Century

Finally, in 1952, Per-Ingvar Brånemark, a Swedish physician, came upon a discovery. While testing bone regeneration in rabbits, he found that a titanium rod had completely fused to the subject’s femur.

After this discovery, he began to postulate that the same method could be applied to dental implants in humans. In 1965, Brånemark placed the very first titanium dental implant in a human volunteer. The success of this procedure quickly led to further advances in dental implantology.

Modern Advancements and Techniques

Since the advent of dental implants, experts have continued to improve the predictability of the procedure. In fact, today, dental implants have a 97 percent success rate and are widely considered the superior teeth replacement solution. In addition to supporting crowns and bridges, dental implants can be used to anchor full-arch replacement options such as removable dentures and fixed appliances.

We would not be where we are today without the sacrifices and discoveries made by our ancient ancestors. Fortunately, we have come a long way since bamboo pegs. Today’s dental implant-supported restorations look and feel just like natural teeth, providing patients all over the world with beautiful, dazzling smiles.

Contact Hawaii Pacific Dental Group

If you are missing teeth, schedule a consultation to find out if dental implants are right for you. To learn more, or to explore your candidacy for this type of treatment, contact us online or give us a call at (808) 955-0008.

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