Dental Implants: A Brief History By Alex Hecht on October 17, 2020

digital illustration of how a dental implant, abutment, and crown fit togetherWhen it comes to teeth replacement solutions, none are as long-lasting as dental implants. These threaded posts replace the roots of missing teeth to support crowns, bridges, or dentures. Drs. Alex and Jason Hecht can complete all stages of implant treatment at our Staten Island, NY, office. 

Implants are so commonplace now, it seems as though they have been around forever. In some ways, they have. As long as humans have existed, they have been finding inventive ways to replace missing teeth. Here, our team explores a brief history of dental implants and discusses how they became the number one preferred replacement option available today.

Tooth Replacement in the Ancient World

Archaeological discoveries tell us that many ancient civilizations around the globe were experimenting with teeth replacement. But the earliest recorded attempt at dental implantology dates back to China, around 2000 BC. It seems that carved pieces of bamboo were used to fill in gaps in dentition. 

In 1000 BC Egypt, a king’s burial tomb revealed that a missing tooth had been replaced with a copper peg. It is unclear whether the implant was placed before or after he passed.

More discoveries were found dating back to the Mayan civilization in about 600 AD. Human skulls have been recovered in which teeth were replaced by wood, stone, and even seashells.

In other areas of the world, teeth were replaced with animal teeth and even teeth from other humans. As one might imagine, the risk of infection was extreme in these cases.

18th Century: Advances in Dental Implantology

Researchers began experimenting with gold and metal alloys in the 18th century. While this was a vast improvement over the efforts of the ancient world, the implants still failed. Later on, it became clear that the failure was due to rejection. In order to be successful long-term, the implant would need to fuse directly to the bone.

Brånemark: The Father of Dental Implants

In 1952, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Brånemark made a startling discovery. While testing how bone tissue heals in rabbits, he learned that a piece of titanium had fused to the bone of one of the subjects. Realizing that this could be an important discovery for the medical and dental communities, he pressed on to perform more experiments.

By 1978, he had successfully placed the first titanium dental implant with the help of a human volunteer. Over the next few years, ever further improvements were made, making dental implants the new frontier of tooth replacement. 

Implant Dentistry Today

Today, dentists thank Dr. Brånemark for his contributions, as more than five million dental implants are placed every year in the United States. There are now several types of implants available, including titanium, ceramic, and mini-implants. Best of all, dental implants have the highest success rate – up to 98 percent – of any other teeth replacement option. We highly encourage patients at our Staten Island practice to consider this treatment above all others.

Learn More about Dental Implants

If you are missing one or more teeth, learn more about your candidacy for dental implants. This teeth replacement solution can support a range of restorations depending on your specific needs. To learn more, schedule a consultation at our Staten Island, NY, dental practice. Contact us online or call us at (718) 705-4434.

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Dr. Alex Hecht and Dr. Jason Hecht

Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist

Our family-run practice, led by Dr. Alex Hecht and Dr. Jason Hecht, is guided by compassionate and genuine care for our patients. Several distinctions set us apart:

  • Creating beautiful smiles since 1978
  • One of the largest practices in the region
  • Excellence in treating even the most complex cases
  • Advanced cone beam computed tomography (CT) scanner
  • Dedication to continuing education
  • Incorporation of the latest techniques

To set up a consultation or learn more about our services, reach out to our office online or call (718) 705-4434.

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