The History of Dental Implants

Modern dental implants can do so much to improve your smile.

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Are you thinking about getting dental implants to replace your missing teeth? Since implants may seem like a modern miracle straight out of a science fiction movie, most people are surprised to learn that the idea has been around for thousands of years. Here is a brief history of dental implants, and how the versions Washington DC Periodontist Dr. Karl A Rose will place in your mouth are a far cry from the ones your ancestors lived with.

Ancient Dental Implants

Archeologists have discovered hundreds of different iterations of dental implants over the years, ranging from tooth-shaped wood pieces implanted directly into the jaw to simple forged steel stakes meant to recreate the look of teeth under the lips after death. Researchers have discovered that 4,000 years ago, the ancient Chinese used carved bamboo pegs to replace missing teeth, and that 2,000 years ago, people may have tried replacing missing teeth with the teeth of animals. Literature from the 1800’s also indicates that people once experimented with implanting teeth harvested from the poor and from cadavers, a tactic that most likely caused infections and ultimately implant rejections. Fortunately, because of a single happy accident, we now enjoy implants that are safe and offer an extraordinarily high success rate—hovering near 100%.

The Invention of Modern Dental Implant: An Accidental Discovery

Out of all of the issues that plagued early dental implant researchers, getting the implant to fuse with the bone tissue was likely the greatest challenge. Without proper osseointegration, early implants would simply fall out. Fortunately, a solution to this problem was discovered in 1952 by orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark.

While studying healing and blood flow to improve bone surgeries, Brånemark and his team decided to place optical devices housed in titanium through the lower legs of rabbits. When they tried to remove the devices later, they found that they couldn’t take them out, and that the titanium had fused with the rabbit’s bone tissue. Brånemark realized that this new discovery could be beneficial in the world of dentistry, and he continued his research, placing the first dental implant in 1965.

By the 1970’s, Brånemark’s research was approved by the Swedish board of Health and Welfare, and by the 1980’s, Brånemark’s work was world-renowned. Considered the father of modern dental implants, Brånemark died in 2014 after spending his lifetime perfecting the art of dental implant placement.

New Advances in Dental Implant Technology

Although many aspects of modern dental implants are based off of research developed by Brånemark, new advances have made modern implants better than ever before.

Improved Imaging

Crystal-clear 3-D imaging has made dental implant placement much, much more accurate. With highly complex 3D models, hair-fine measurements, and a deeper understanding of oral anatomy, Dr. Karl A. Rose and other modern implant dentists can plan the exact placement of your implants, proactively avoiding complications.

Titanium Posts that Mimic Natural Bone Tissue

Modern dental implants use new titanium posts roughened to a texture that mimics natural bone tissue. These implant posts are designed with a greater surface area that speeds healing and improves stability and adhesion.

Better Abutments

Dr. Karl "Tony" Rose

An abutment is the collar that sits between the actual titanium post and the implant. Although older versions could be difficult to work with, new abutments make it easier than ever before for Dr. Rose to place permanent crowns which look just like natural teeth.

Come in Today to Learn More About Dental Implants

If you want to learn more about dental implants and how they could improve your smile, make an appointment to visit with Dr. Rose. Although dental implants are typically considered an elective procedure and not covered by insurance, our office offers extended, flexible financing for dental implants. We look forward to giving you the smile makeover of your dreams.