Like every good piece of dental technology, the humble dental implant has been on a rollercoaster of a journey through history. From its first discovery dental implants are now available worldwide and also here in Stoke-on-Trent. It’s been a rocky road for the dental implant with some questionable trial and error form of tooth replacement over the years and we uncover what went down in history.
The first ever recorded dental implants were discovered at a Mayan burial site in Honduras in 1931. These dental implants date back over 1,300 years to the year 600AD. A female jawbone was in fact found at the burial site that contained three tooth shaped pieces of shell and stone embedded in the tooth sockets. It was first assumed that the stones were placed after death for cosmetic appearance but further examinations indicted they’d been placed during life. This is because the jawbone had compacted around the pieces of shell and stone, becoming the first indication that the artificial teeth were accepted by the bone and body.
Different civilisations and people through history also dabbled in tooth replacement, with several forms of success. Going back to the Ancient Chinese, they used shards of bamboo to restore the ability to chew and bite, possibly creating functional implants but not the best looked or best feeling tooth replacement system. The Egyptians, on the other hand, restored beauty to the mouth by replacing missing teeth with bling, gems and even other human teeth secured with golden wires. However, this was done only for burial purposes as they believed the body must be whole to pass the into the afterlife.
The titanium roots of dental implants is one of the most impressive discoveries yet, as this is still the preferred and extremely reliable of performing this treatment today. The breakthrough occurred when Dr Per-Invgvar Brånemark discovered that titanium bonded with bones and biocompatible. The breakthrough occurred when he placed a titanium screw in a bone and when he later came to remove it, found the bone had fused with the metal and it would not budge. It was found that titanium actually helps the bone to heal around it, and after much more research the modern dental implants we know and love came to fruition.
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“Excellent - attentive, courteous, friendly and a great job done fitting my implant. I highly recommend them.”
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