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The History of Dental Implants

Dental Implant GraphicAt David Crumpton, DDS, we are proud to offer dental implants as a treatment for replacing your missing teeth. Dental implants have quickly gained popularity in recent years, offering several significant benefits over traditional treatments. In addition to restoring the basic functions of your missing teeth, dental implants are stable, more comfortable, and they work to preserve the strength and integrity of your jawbone. However, how, exactly, did they come to be?

Early Implants

While the dental implants we know and use today are the result of modern research and development, dental implants have a much longer history. The earliest dental implants were discovered in the mandible of a young woman and date all the way back to 600 AD. The mandible was found with bits of seashell and bone in it where a tooth once was.

What was most interesting about the discovery was that her bone had begun to fuse to her implant, which is an indication that the implant was placed while she was still alive. This was not the only instance of ancient implants. In fact, evidence of implants has been discovered all over the world. Ancient Egyptian mummies were found with gold wire in their jaws. Middle Eastern skeletons have been found with ivory for teeth. Moreover, there has even been evidence of a Roman soldier with a piece of iron where a tooth once stood.

Discovering Osseointegration

The implants that we use today are the result of a discovery made in the 1950s. The discovery was completely accidental. A Swedish orthopedic surgeon by the name of Per-Ingvar Brånemark was researching bone healing and regeneration. He placed a titanium cylinder in the femur of a rabbit. When he went to remove the cylinder later, he discovered that the bone had begun fusing to it. What Brånemark had discovered was osseointegration. He took this discovery and began further research and development.

All of his work eventually led to the successful placement of dental implants in 1965. The work of Brånemark did not stop there. In fact, he continued research and development in a quest to improve the success and stability of dental implants. He entered into a partnership with Bofors AB, now known as Nobel Industries, in 1978. Bofors AB helped Brånemark to develop and market his dental implants. The company founded Nobelpharma, now called Nobel Biocare, in 1981. The sole focus of Nobelpharma was dental implants. Today, Nobel Biocare is the industry leader in dental implants, with over 7 million of the Brånemark systems placed.

Continuing to Improve on Dental Implants

Even today, there is still research and development continually being conducted to further improve the stability and success of dental implants, and to make them more widely available to more patients. Some significant improvements include posts available in different circumferences and lengths, where original implants were only available in a single circumference. Another improvement is the texture of the posts. Originally, posts were smooth. Today, posts have a rough texture, which improves the rate of osseointegration. There is also research being done into alternative materials to provide metal-free options, with zirconia being the most promising so far. If you are missing teeth, dental implants may be the right solution for you. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call David Crumpton, DDS today at 817-678-7395.


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David Crumpton, DDS, serves families in Trophy Club, Roanoke, Keller, Southlake, Colleyville, Fort Worth, and across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

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