Apr 17

Illustration shows dental implant, abutment, and crown hovering over pink gumsDental implants restore lost teeth through the placement of advanced titanium posts in the jaw. If you are looking for a permanent solution to tooth loss, Dr. Bruno Lemay at Desert Dental Alternatives can customize a restorative treatment plan that will allow you to be fitted with an implant-retained crown, bridge, or denture.

Modern dental implants are fabricated from surgical-grade materials. Mankind’s earliest attempts to replace missing teeth made use of all sorts of materials, ranging from metal and stone to bone and seashell fragments. To help patients understand dental implants’ history and how they have evolved since those early days, our Cathedral City, CA, dental practice offers this overview.  

Earliest Evidence of Dental Implants

Archaeological evidence suggests that humans have always placed a high value on replacing lost teeth. The earliest recorded attempts to replace missing teeth date back 4,000 years to China. Bamboo pegs and other readily available materials were used to replace missing teeth.

The oldest metal prosthetic was found in Egypt and dates to around 1,000 BC. The preserved body of an Egyptian king reveals a copper peg located in the upper jawbone. Iron may have been used to replace a lost tooth in a man who lived in what is now modern-day France. That iron tooth is believed to be around 2,300 years old.

In the Americas, Mayans and other cultures used seashells and stones to replace lost teeth. Those efforts date back as far as 600 AD.

More Recent Advances

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, European scientists and doctors began experimenting with various alloys and gold as the base materials for false teeth. The use of those metals was a step in the right direction, from a biocompatibility perspective, but there were no practical surgical techniques that could successfully and permanently place the false teeth in the jaw. 

The First Bone Implant

Dental implants are a type of bone implant. An important advance in bone implant surgery came in 1930 when Drs. Alvin and Moses Strock successfully performed the first endosteal implant procedure using a metal implant.


By the mid-1950s, advances in surgical techniques were making permanent dental implants a potential reality. One breakthrough came in 1952 when a Swedish orthopedic surgeon discovered osseointegration. The natural process is what allows dental implants to fuse with surrounding jawbone tissue. Osseointegration allows implants to become a fully functioning part of the jawbone.

With continued advances in bone implant technology and the discovery of osseointegration, the first successful dental implant placement took place in 1965.

Etching and Reduced Healing Time

The second half of the 20th century was defined by advances in implant technology and reductions in healing time. Researchers found that microscopic indentations on the surface of the implant allowed for faster osseointegration. Modern-day dental implants can completely fuse with nearby jawbone tissue in as few as three months.

Modern-Day Dental Implants

Computers now play a significant role in the design and placement of dental implants. The team at Desert Dental Alternatives offers a variety of dental implant options. Our implants are fabricated from surgical-grade titanium and have coatings that encourage the bone to attach to the implant more quickly.

To accommodate as wide a range of anatomical differences as possible, we offer multiple dental implant size options, including mini dental implants. Depending on factors like bone quality and the size of your upper or lower jaw, a unique treatment plan will be outlined to best serve your oral health needs.

Schedule Your Dental Implant Consultation Today

Dental implants have come a long way since the earliest attempts to replace lost teeth 4,000 years ago. To schedule your dental implant consultation, please contact our office online or call (706) 324-4450.

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