The history of dental implants

The history of dental implants is believed to begin as far back as the 7th century. In the 1930's dental implants (in their original form – made of sea shell) were found in Mayan burial archeological sites placed in a young woman's jaw bone.

Today, the latest and most advanced technology makes it possible to have teeth in your mouth that look like they have been there since you lost your baby teeth, even though they are really replacements.

This is thanks to the discovery by a Swedish professor of orthopedics named Branemark who found that titanium (a very strong and non-corrosive metal) attaches itself to bone when it is implanted in it. During one of his experiments he embedded a titanium device into rabbits' leg bones to study bone healing. After a few months he tried to remove these expensive devices and when he couldn't he noticed that bone had attached itself to the metal.

He eventually decided that the mouth was far more practical than leg experiments as it was easier to watch the progress and there were more toothless people than people with serious joint problems. He called the attachment of the titanium to the bone as ‘osseointegration’ and in 1965 he used the first titanium dental implant into a human volunteer.

Over the next few years he published a lot of research on the use of titanium dental implants and in 1978 he commercialized for the development and marketing of his titanium dental implants and today over 7 million implants under his brand name have been placed. Needless to say there are other dental implant companies that have used his patent.

Looking at the technology involved and the high success rates of dental implants now days, you find it hard to believe that the history of dental implants goes back only 40 years.

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