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A Brief History of Dental Implants

Although dental implants are considered one of the latest innovations in dental restoration, you may be surprised to learn that people have been using modern implants for decades. Even more surprising is the centuries-long history of older forms of dental implants made from materials ranging from animal bones to gold. Although there wasn’t much success with these earlier versions of today’s titanium implants, they paved the way for today’s dental implants.

Ancient Implants

The earliest dental implants may have been placed 4,000 years ago, when bamboo pegs were carved and placed in teeth sockets in China. Later, Egyptians cut gold and other precious metals into teeth and pegged them into place. Different cultures used shells, animal bones, and even the teeth pulled from corpses to replace missing teeth. For the most part, these foreign objects were rejected by the jawbone, although there is evidence that they were occasionally successful.

The 1800s – 1900s

By the 1800s, doctors were experimenting with various materials for dental implants, such as porcelain and silver. None of these materials were successful because they didn’t fuse with the surrounding jawbone. In 1913, Dr. E.J. Greenfield used gold cylinders as dental implants with some positive results, although rejection of the implant still occurred in many patients.

Drs. Moses and Alvin Strock began using Vitallium, a bio-compatible metal, for dental implants after noting its successful use for hip implants. These pioneering doctors are regarded as the first modern implant surgery. In 1947, Drs. F. Zepponi and Manlio Formiggini developed an implant with a screw shape that provided greater stability for dental restorations. This screw-shaped form is still used today.

Modern Titanium Implants

In the 1950s, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark implanted titanium into a rabbit’s femur and realized that it had fused with the bone through a process called osseointegration. In 1965, Dr. Brånemark placed his first titanium dental implant in a patient. The procedure was a success, launching the modern dental implant industry.

During the following decades, titanium implants continued to evolve. Various dental professionals and researchers adapted the original design. Sandblasting and etching of the implant surface encouraged improved osseointegration, and new shapes and sizes allowed for more customized fits.

Today’s Dental Implants

Over the last several decades, dental implants have taken on a wide range of shapes, sizes, and textures for an increasingly personalized fit and better osseointegration. Today, hundreds of dental implant options are available with success rates in the 90% range.

 Today’s dental implants can:

  • Restore your ability to eat, speak, and chew comfortably
  • Preserve facial contours
  • Help reduce jawbone deterioration
  • Create a natural-looking smile

Dr. Szutz keeps current with the latest innovations in dental implant design and surgical techniques in order to provide his patients with the safest, most effective solutions available. Contact Alaska Oral Surgery Group at Alaska Oral Surgery Group Office Phone Number 907-278-5678 to schedule a dental implant con

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