15th June 2018
Dental implants through the ages
Dental implants weren’t always the careful, precise, and reliable treatment option they are today. Through a long journey of research, investigation, and scrupulous clinical trials, the modern dental implant is the safest and strongest yet. However, before these rigorous investigations, there were the make-do eras that date far, far back that you may have thought.
You’ve probably never wondered about the history of dental implants, but once you read of their humble beginnings you will be thoroughly invested! This dental trivia is interesting, humbling, and maybe even a little surprising.
Dental implants have been traced back as far as 600AD, over 1,300 years ago! We have the Mayans to thank for the earliest documented use of dental implants, discovered while excavating a burial site in Honduras in 1931. A young female’s jaw bone was found with three tooth-shaped pieces of shell and stone lodged in the empty sockets. At first, it was assumed that these replacement teeth were placed after death for cosmetic or burial reasons. They’re a far stretch from the colour-matched, specially crafted options our Clapham dental practice offers now!
In 1970 this Honduran-Mayan jaw bone was scrutinised again, and it was found that the bone was compacted around these make-shift implants. This was possibly one of the earliest indications that bone can heal around foreign implants, proving that the shells were placed during the young woman’s life rather than after her death.
While this is one of the earliest documented finds of dental implants during life, tooth replacement had been frequently practiced around the world. Not technically classified as implants, the ancient Chinese used bamboo shards to replace missing teeth and restore function to the mouth. Obviously, this sacrifices the cosmetic aspect that modern dentistry and Crescent Lodge Dental Practice have perfected.
The ancient Egyptians, on the other hand, restored cosmetics before function. They used ivory, precious stones, and even other human teeth to posthumously replace teeth and fixed them in place with gold wires.
Jump forwards to 1952 and we find ourselves in the presence of the father of modern implants, a Swedish man named Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark. He discovered the incredible potential of titanium, which is now used as the root for most dental implants. He made a breakthrough discovery when he realised he could not remove a small titanium screw that he had placed in a bone to study its healing process. In fact, the titanium seemed to invite the bone to heal around it and seal it in! This provided the earliest indication that titanium could, after many published studies over many years, form a strong root for a tooth implant.
This was the birth of the long dental development that led to the trusted, strong, and completely safe tooth implant technology we use today. While in ancient times you would have had to rummage for some smooth white stones or sifted the sand for sea shells, we can now offer your far better options!
Our Clapham dental practice offers expertly placed dental implants of the finest porcelain and titanium, with tooth replacement suitable for all situations. If you’re considering the modern dental implant (with no bamboo in sight) then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.