The Incredible History of Dental Implants

For thousands of years, human beings have invented new ways of improving their looks. Cosmetic dentistry has long been part of the journey to reaching aesthetic perfection. Dental implants have a particularly involved history.

The Origins of Dental Implants

Though modern technology has changed the look of and placement procedure for dental implants, the concept for the cosmetic procedure originated over 3000 years ago, with the Ancient Egyptians. Archaeological digs in the 1930s turned up evidence that the Egyptians hammered copper studs, shells, and animal bones into their mouths. The ancient Mayans also used shells shaped to look like teeth.

In the 1700s, tooth transplants were attempted, generally with poor results because the immune systems of the recipients would reject the donor teeth. A century later, experiments with placing gold, platinum and other metal alloys directly into tooth sockets were also mostly unsuccessful.

The Beginning of Modern Dental Implantation

It wasn’t until two decades after the earliest known dental implants were discovered, in 1951, that  Swedish orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark began an experiment wherein he screwed a titanium post into the thighbone of a lab animal. Though not initially part of the experiment, Brånemark found that the bone had fused with the metal post.

He called this newly discovered phenomenon osseointegration (the fusing of bone with an implant), which became the focus of his studies and the basis of many technologies that help people today: dental implants (the main application), craniofacial prosthesis (ears, eyes, noses, etc.), bone-anchored hearing aids, and joint replacement.

Since the 1950s, dental implants have improved greatly (and well beyond the Egyptian prototypes!). The failure rate is low, and the restorations placed on them have the potential to be beautiful and life-like.

Dr. James Fondriest offers state-of-the-art dental implant restorations that blend with your natural teeth and restore the function and beauty to your smile. Call our Lake Forest, IL, dental practice today at 847.234.0517 for your consultation. Dr. Fondriest provides cosmetic, restorative and general dental services for people in the North Shore and greater Chicago areas.

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