Were people living thousands of years ago concerned with their smiles? Maybe not. There were no photographers encouraging people to say “cheese” as they snapped their photos at weddings and family reunions. A full set of teeth was necessary for proper chewing, of course. Survival may have even depended on it. For those of us living in the 21st century, an attractive appearance, and the ability to eat the foods we love, are equally important. Dental implants make both of these things possible.
Some form of artificial teeth have been around for centuries. Fortunately, there have been many advances in dental implant technology since these early days in dental hygiene history.
Ancient Dental Dilemmas
Four thousand years ago, the people of ancient China understood the value of a working set of teeth. Enough so that they improvised their own versions using pegs of the woody bamboo plant. It’s not hard to imagine the pain and discomfort this may have caused these ancients chewers.
About one thousand years later, metal implants were used in Egypt, likely only among royalty. When archaeologists excavated the body of an Eygyptian king, a copper peg was discovered attached to his jawbone. Whether this was done to improve his chewing in his mortal life or added to assist in the afterlife is not known, but the need was recognized and a solution was found.
Archaeologists have discovered prosthetics made from metal, gemstones, even seashells. This may have been done for fashion, as seashells hardly seem strong enough to eat with. Attaching these artificial teeth was no doubt a painful proposition. Some form of anesthetic may have been used on these early dental patients.
Animal teeth were also used as dental implants, as well as teeth from fellow humans. It’s best not to think about whether these early teeth donors did so willingly.
Dental Implants Surgery Evolves
In the mid 17th century, replacement teeth were taken from the recently deceased in a practice that sometimes involved grave robbing. Luckily, much more legitimate, and less creepy, means of tooth replacement were to come.
In the early 1800s, an Italian medical school graduate performed the first implant which used the jawbone as an anchor. A gold tube was inserted into the extraction cavity of a pioneering dental patient. Not long after the surrounding gums healed and the crown was added, painful inflammation developed. It was not a success and a better solution was necessary.
The key to a successful implant lies in the proper, safe fusion of the prosthetic with the jawbone. This would come in the mid 20th century when an orthopedic surgeon successfully fused a titanium tube to a rabbit’s femur bone. It would be another decade or so before this procedure was performed in the jawbone of a willing human.
Advances in Dental Implant Technology
We’ve come a long way since bamboo choppers! Today, dental centers like Eon Clinics employ highly-trained teams of oral surgeons and prosthodontists. These dental professionals work with well-trained staff members where they put their cutting-edge technology to use in in-house labs. This creates a one-stop shop for all dental implant needs at clinics throughout Chicagoland and in southern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana.
From single and multiple tooth to full jaw all-on-4 dental implants, Eon Clinics helps patients enjoy eating and smiling again. Find out how dental implants can improve your life. Schedule a free consultation online today or call us at (844) 365-7645.