The History of Dental Implants By Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky on July 15, 2020

Three dental implants with attached crowns overlap over a black backgroundArcheological evidence suggests that ancient civilizations placed a high value on having a full set of teeth. The earliest attempts to replace a lost tooth date back thousands of years. Fortunately, modern dental implants bare little resemblance to early attempts at tooth replacement

Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky works with surgical-grade titanium and other restorative materials that are biocompatible and safe. Once the implants have healed, you can be fitted with a quality restoration or prosthetic at our Edmonton, AB, dental practice, conveniently located in downtown Edmonton. To further the education of our patients, we will briefly discuss the history of dental implants.

Archeological Evidence of Dental Implants

The ancient Chinese are credited with developing and using the first dental implants. As early as 2000 BC, archaeological evidence points toward the use of bamboo pegs as a tooth replacement treatment in China. 

The first example of metal implants comes from Egypt at around 1000 BC. The body of an Egyptian king shows a copper peg that has been hammered into one of the jawbones. Whether the peg was placed during the king’s lifetime or aftardward is not clear.

Dental Implant Discoveries in Europe and the Americas

A Celtic grave that dates to around 300 BC shows an iron false tooth. As with the Egyptian king, the French body may have had the implant placed as part of ceremonial burial. In the Americas, Mayans are known to have used seashells and stones to replace lost teeth. Those practices dated as far back as 600 AD.

Many cultures from all parts of the globe also replaced teeth with animal bone or human teeth. Rare gems were also popular tooth replacement options. 

Developments in Modern Dental Implant Technology

European researchers began experimenting with gold and alloy implants in the 19th century. In 1886, the first placement of a porcelain crown on a metal implant was completed, although the implant did not take to the host bone. The main barrier to successful dental implant placement was the inability to fuse the implant post with the surrounding jawbone tissue. 

The first successful endosteal (replacing the tooth’s roots) procedure was performed by Drs. Alvin and Moses Strock in 1930. Scientists still did not fully understand the process by which bone fuses with implants. Osseointegration was first observed and documented in 1952 when an orthopedic surgeon documented how a rabbit’s femur integrated a titanium cylinder that was implanted in the leg bone. 

Recent Advances

The second half of the 20th century saw continual advances in the design and base materials used for dental implants. Titanium has become the material of choice for most dental implants due to the biocompatible nature of the metal and its incredible strength. 

One technique that has become standardized is the use of microetching on the outer layer of implants. Etching creates small indentations on the surface of metal. Sandblasting and acid baths are two common etching techniques.

Computer technology now guides the fabrication of dental implants. You can trust Dr. Podilsky and his Edmonton dental team to use the latest techniques when placing your dental implants. 

Learn More during a Consultation

Dental implants can restore form and function to your smile following tooth loss. Whether you recently lost a tooth or are dissatisfied with the performance of your dentures, Dr. Podilsky can customize a tooth replacement treatment plan using dental implants. To schedule your next visit, please contact our office online or call (780) 428-6846.

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  • Over 40 years of experience
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  • Membership with the College of Dental Surgeons of Alberta

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us today at (780) 428-6846.

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