History of Dental Implants
Dental implants have been around for much longer than most people think. In fact, archeological evidence shows that some people in ancient China had crude dental implants over 4,000 years ago! These implants were made out of bamboo. After they had been carved into a tooth-like shape, they were tapped down into the bone of the mouth. Other remains found in Egypt used precious metals as tooth implants. These remains date back at least 3,000 years. Some of these mummies had ivory teeth, while others had actual human teeth that had been transplanted and mounted on another material.
In Europe, dental implants can be traced back 2,300 years. An iron implant was found in a skull in France. Archeologists and dental experts believe this tooth and other fake teeth found in the area were likely implanted after death. Implants were found on the other side of the world, too. Remains found in Honduras show that Mayans were using shells as implants as far back as 600 AD. Dental studies show that these implants weren’t just for looks, either. They were fully functional teeth.
Dental Implants in More Modern Times
In the late eighteenth century, experiments were done with gold and various other alloys. However, these implants and other fake teeth weren’t as effective as these dental experts hoped. In 1886, implants using platinum and porcelain were used, but like most other implants, these were rarely long-term solutions. The body often rejected them as foreign entities.
In 1913, however, the Greenfield implant system was fairly successful. This implant system used platinum-iridium for the implant and gold for the crown. These implants showed osseointegration, the fusing of the implant material with the bone around it. These implants lasted for years. In 1940, titanium was first used. Seven years later, in 1951, a researcher named Gottlieb Leventhal studied the effects of implanting titanium in the bones of rabbits. After positive results, he suggested to doctors and dentists that titanium was the best metal to use for implants because of its durability and osseointegration.
Further studies on titanium were done in the 1950s. A team at Cambridge University created titanium structures that could be implanted in soft tissue. Lund University researchers later build on this research that further showed that titanium was, indeed, the best metal to use for implants. Leonard Linkow was the first to create dental implants using titanium.
Today’s Dental Implants
Since the 1950s, research into dental implants has continued. As technology and manufacturing methods became more advanced, better implants have been created. There are now three different types of basic implants. Root form implants are fairly common. These implants come in some different variations. The second type is the zygoma implant, which is long enough that it attaches to the cheek bone instead of the jaw bone. Then there are small diameter implants. These low diameter implants are often used as anchors.
Titanium remains the metal of choice for implants, with commercially pure titanium the best material. Modern implants also often have textured surfaces that improve osseointegration.
Want to learn more about dental implants and if they are a good choice for you? Contact us today at (844) 281-6446 for more information.