Fun Facts About Dental Implants

Fun Facts About Dental Implants


The earliest implants were placed postmortem in Egypt around 1000 BC as a burial ritual to replace missing teeth for the afterlife. Functioning implants with healed bone supporting them were fashioned out of stone or shell in the Mayan civilization.

In 1809, J Maggiolo experimented with gold tubes placed into new extraction sites, and in 1903 Dr EJ Greenfield placed iridio platinum tubes in a similar manner.

Drs Alvin and Moses Strock successfully experimented with chrome cobalt allow screws as a biocompatible material starting in the 1930’s. Implant science grew through the efforts of Formiggini and Zepponi in the 1940’s, Dr Perron Andres, Dr Raphael Chercheve, and finally over the bone implants by Dr Dahl in Sweden.

Intraosseous or in the bone implants were further developed by Gershkoff, Goldberg and Weinberg and Lee in 1947-48.

IN 1965 Dr P Branemark began developing a system of intraosseous implants that has developed into the most prevalent systems used today.

Upper front teeth of a Maya individual from the 8th century AD.
Gold casting made according to the original diagram for the modern reproduction of this artifact
The principle of “osseointegration” according to Maggiolo
X-ray of a Greenfield basket, which is perfectly osseointegrated
Strock’s two implant morphologies; they are submerged implants (1948!)
Two Formiggini spirals in service since 1952 and checked in 1981 after other implants were inserted
The Perron Andres implant
Different designs of endosseous screws used in the 1960s and 1970s


Dental Implants Today

Dental implants can preserve and grow bone in area that are missing teeth. They stabilize replacement teeth and add strength to the jaw by resisting chewing forces.

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Today over 5 million dental implants are placed each year in the United States. The procedure to place implants can be surprisingly painless. It is much less uncomfortable than the process used to remove a tooth. Most patients report little to no discomfort during or after the procedure. When natural teeth are lost, the bone that had supported the teeth is lost as well. The shape of the jawbone changes and the muscles in your cheeks and face shrink and form wrinkles and sags. Dental implants preserve this bone and support the facial profile, keeping a youthful appearance.

The body recognizes implants as a substitute for your own teeth. For 98% of cases, normal bone forms around the implant with a strength equal to the bond to a natural tooth. As a result, dental Implants are about 25% stronger than the natural teeth they replace. The bone fuses to the implant in a process called osseointegration. When the bone heals fully, it can be stronger than before the tooth was removed. No other tooth replacement process can do this for your bone.

Although natural teeth have many advantages, dental implants are the only tooth replacement that are stronger than the teeth that they replace. Implants can help you chew better and more forcefully than you could with the teeth that are replaced. When your bite is restored and your ability to eat improves, your diet can include foods that are richer in nutrients. Science shows that when people lose five or more teeth, by the age of 65 they have a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

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Placing dental implants is a skilled procedure but is less complex than routine dental treatments like root canals. It is performed by both general dentists and specialists. Worldwide, 80% of implants are placed by general dentists. Almost anyone who is in generally good health and who has adequate bone height and width is a candidate for implant placement.

Maintenance for dental implants is the same as taking care of your natural teeth. Contrary to natural teeth, though, implants cannot have cavities since they are made of metals or porcelain. Once the implant site is healed, ordinary brushing, flossing water pick and mouth rinses are all that is necessary for their upkeep.


Read More in Our Guide to Dental Implants


Photo Credits: Pasqualini U, Pasqualini ME. Treatise of Implant Dentistry: The Italian Tribute to Modern Implantology. Carimate (IT): Ariesdue; 2009 Oct. Chapter I, THE HISTORY OF IMPLANTOLOGY.