A Short History of Dental Implants

Dental implants have been around for years, and did you know…?

Dr. Scharf at his office desk look at a dental scan
  • Ancient Egyptians used seashell shards, ivory, and animal bone to create dental implants
  • The discovery that titanium can bond with living bone was made in 1952.
  • Dr. Scharf is an expert at placing dental implants and has been doing implants since 1988.
  • In 2002, the ADA announced that dental implants are the preferred method of tooth replacement.

We have been trying to come up with the best way to replace missing teeth for thousands of years. Fortunately, we live in an era where advanced techniques are available to almost everyone, meaning that tooth loss is not the problem it once was. Improved products for caring for our teeth, a better understanding of oral health, and regular dental checkups mean that approximately 70% of adults can expect to enter their later years with all or most of their teeth intact.

Dentures have long been the standard for those who have lost teeth through accident or disease. The famous American patriot Paul Revere was known for his skills in denture making, and many of the founding fathers (including George Washington) had false teeth. Today, denture wearers have a wide array of materials and methods available to them to replace missing or broken teeth. Of these, dental implants are the longest-lasting and most cosmetically appealing.

A Timeline of Dental Implants 

Ancient history: The Egyptians carefully shaped seashells and hammered them directly into the gums for the purpose of replacing teeth. Ivory and the bones of animals were also sometimes used to replace missing teeth.

1700s– Lost teeth were often replaced with teeth from human donors. The process was mostly unsuccessful due to immune system reactions to the foreign material.

1800s– Gold, platinum, and other metal alloys were used experimentally and placed into sockets where teeth had been freshly extracted in an attempt to create suitable replacements. Long-term success rates were extremely poor.

1952– A doctor in Sweden, Professor Branemark, accidentally discovered that titanium can bond irreversibly with living bone tissue. (Titanium is the same material that has been successfully used in knee and hip replacements for more than 30 years.)

1965– The first ‘modern implants‘ were introduced. The process of purposely implanting titanium in bone for the purpose of rooting prosthetic teeth began, with much trial and error.

1981– Professor Branemark published a paper covering all the data he had amassed regarding titanium implants. He followed his original group of dental implant patients for 20 years before presenting his revolutionary findings to the world. So even though dental implants were new to North America in the 1980’s the technology had been thoroughly tested and proven effective.

1982– The Toronto Conference on Osseointegration in Clinical Dentistry created the first guidelines for what would be considered successful implant dentistry.

1988– Dr. David Scharf places his first dental implant. General dentists are being flooded with weekend courses enticing them to start placing dental implants and learn as they go on their patients. Dr. Scharf has been involved with modern-day dental implants almost since their inception giving him a level of expertise few dentists achieve.

1993– Dr. David Scharf publishes data in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants showing that implants can have the same high success rate when placed in a dental office setting under aseptic conditions as when they are placed in an operating room. This advancement clears the way for the routine practice of placing dental implants in the periodontist’s office rather than a costly hospital operating room setting.

2002– An ADA survey showed wide acceptance of dental implants as the preferred method of tooth replacement. Today – You can be among the many patients that will benefit from modern implant dentistry in the coming years.

Dental Implants are the Preferred Method of Tooth Replacement

Since the 1980s, dental implants have steadily gained ground as the preferred method of tooth replacement. It is estimated that more than 2 million patients have benefited from dental implant techniques since 1965. Since titanium is not treated as a foreign object by the body, the integration of titanium has become standard dental treatment. By securing a new tooth to a replacement tooth root (dental implant) a solid replacement is created that looks, feels, and performs just like the real thing.

Schedule My Appointment

If you are wanting to learn more about dental implants and see if you are a candidate then schedule an appointment to meet with Long Island Periodontist Dr. David Scharf.

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Call our office at (631) 661-6633