dental implants

A complete History of Dental Implants

Teeth are one of the most essential parts of our body, not just structurally, but aesthetically too. Not everyone has the perfectly aligned teeth that we see in toothpaste ads. But everyone surely wants the perfect teeth. Some even choose to get aesthetic dental implants to enhance the aesthetic quotient of their oral cavity. 


The growing need for dental implants has made them one of the most commonly sought oral surgeries of recent times. In this article, we shall be learning how we evolved from bamboo pegs to zygomatic implants and full dental implants.


The history of dental implants:


Back in 2000 BC, when someone had a missing tooth, most civilizations across China carved out pieces of bamboo to bring them into the shape of pegs and placed them in the socket of the missing tooth.


Historians have described an Egyptian ruler that lived in 1000 BC. When his mummy was excavated, there was a metal implant found hammered in his upper jaw. This has been listed amongst the most initial cases of the use of metal implants to replace missing teeth. However, most historians weren’t sure if the implant was done while he was alive or after his death.


In France as a result of some archeological excavation, a grave was found that contained a man from 300 BC. The body had an iron tooth hammered into its jaw which is believed to have been done after its death. The pain of hammering an iron implant would have been unbearable, had the person been alive.


In the olden days, people used animal teeth or teeth from other human beings to replace the missing teeth of a person. In today’s time, if we use the teeth of another human, it will be termed as a homoplastic implant and if the teeth of another animal are used, it will be termed as a heteroplastic implant. However, the teeth of another human or animal would be preferred less compared to the metal implants since the risk of infection and implant rejection is higher.


The beginning of dental implant techniques:


At the beginning of the eighteenth century, some dentists tried experimenting with alloys of different metals and gold. These were used to make implants and then plant them on the jaws of people who had a missing tooth. However, the experience failed to taste success. 


Towards the final years of the eighteenth century, a dentist took a platinum implant and coated it with a porcelain crown, and tried to plant it on the jaw of a person. The success was very short term and the implant failed to serve in the long term.


In all these experiments, the part that continuously failed the experiments of numerous scientists was the mandatory requirement of the implant to fuse with the bone in the socket. This is known as osseointegration and was a major reason behind the failure of various experiments.


Years later, a dentist read somewhere that titanium was wrapped around the femur bone of a rabbit and they fused. This inspired him to try the technique for a tooth implant. The titanium had not just fused with the bone but had also encouraged its regeneration. The dentist then took a platinum implant and used it to replace a missing tooth in a human being. Finally, in 1965, an orthopedic surgeon named Branemark successfully accomplished a dental implant on a volunteer. 


After the success of this experiment, dentists started using titanium screws to fix implants in the jaw. After some time, once the healing began, the titanium screw fused with the bone and gave better results. This inspired the invention of zygomatic implants and full dental implants.


The present:


A missing tooth can cause a lot of issues in the oral cavity. The surrounding teeth no more have support, and the bone can grow in the wrong direction. They also reduce the aesthetic quotient of the face. Presently, dental implants are the only way to deal with missing teeth. 




The history of dental implants dates back to 3000 BC when people used bamboo to carve it into pegs and use it as implants. Later, some mummies and graves were found in archeological excavations that found people with metal implants. It was believed that these implants were probably done after the death of the person since hammering metal into the jaw of a living person would have been an unbearably painful experience.  


Some even used teeth of other human beings and animals to replace the missing teeth. However, homoplastic and heteroplastic implants can have several risks associated with them of infection and implant rejection. 


In the eighteenth century, dentists tried to implant metals into the jaws of humans but failed. Later, a dentist used titanium to make implants. It not only fused with the bone but also encouraged regeneration of the bone. Finally, implants were made with titanium screws that anchored the bone in the jaw and once the healing process began, they fused with the bone gradually.


This has made both zygomatic implants and full dental implants possible.

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