The history of dental implants is both interesting and somewhat complicated. The concept of replacing a natural tooth with an artificial substitute isn’t one that was simply born one day in a laboratory. Instead, it’s an idea that has roots in some ancient civilizations and has been continuously modified and adapted right up until modern times. In fact, any implant dentist would agree that advancing technology is making it possible for implant dentistry to continue growing, and the future of oral health is getting brighter by the moment.
But, how did it all begin? How did we arrive at this moment in history when a single false tooth can be implanted in the space where there was once a real tooth?
From the ancient Mayans to World War II oral surgeons, it would be impossible to link the birth of implant dentistry to just one person or one group of individuals. We do know that there was a growing interest in anatomical reconstruction following the Second World War at the Walter Reed Army Hospital. For the service men and women who had suffered the trauma of war, army specialists were using cutting edge concepts to replace missing body parts with artificial implants. During that time, a group of surgeons began entertaining the idea that the techniques for implanting artificial body parts could possibly be adapted to include reconstructed dentistry.
As titanium, bone grafts, and tissue grafts were being used successfully throughout other parts of the body, more research was performed to apply those concepts in the oral cavity. The concept of implantology gained significant credibility in the early 1950’s when a Swedish orthopedic surgeon discovered that a titanium fixture could be permanently fused to human bone in a process that would be termed “osseointegration”. By the mid-1980’s, the practice of titanium-based dental implants had gained widespread acceptance commercially.
Since those early years, the ability to fuse a titanium post to the human jaw bone has become more predictable and more streamlined. The anticipated healing and recovery times for dental implant procedures has also shortened considerably.
To learn more about the benefits of modern implant dentistry, and the surgical arts of placing dental implants, contact the office of our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Steven Koos DDS, MD, for a personal consultation.