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  • Writer's pictureSheen Dental

The History of Dental Implants in Brief

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Here at Sheen Dental we’ve been performing dental implants in Richmond for many years and although complex, it’s considered a common process. However it’s only in the last 60 years that dentists have had the technology. As the name implies a dental implant is a form of cosmetic dentistry that replaces missing, cracked, or broken teeth by implanting a screw-like rod into the jawbone. A natural looking tooth is then secured on top.

Dental Implants Richmond

Oldest recorded form of implant dates back 1350 years

The oldest known form of a dental implant of sorts was discovered on the body of a Mayan woman who dated back some 1350 years. Archaeologists found that pieces of carved shell in the shape of teeth were inserted into the sockets of three missing incisors. The ancient Egyptians and indeed the Romans also adopted very crude implant techniques, but the modern day implant as we know it didn’t occur until 1952.

Discovered by Accident

Modern day dental implants rely on a process known as osseointegration. This is where given time, bone grows and merges with a titanium screw which is implanted into the jaw-line. As it does they lock together to secure a strong foundation on which to place the crown. It was this process that was discovered almost by accident.

In 1952 Per Ingvar Branemark a Swedish orthopaedic surgeon was testing titanium oculars in the bones of rabbits as a healing aid for broken bones. However after the healing process had taken place he found that they couldn’t be removed. On closer inspection he discovered that the bone had infused itself with the titanium. Later that same year Dr Leonard Linkow performed the very first implant using the osseointegration technique.

In 1959 Dr Tramonte invented the titanium screw

Up until 1959 a metal blade-like rod known as the Blade Endosseous Implant or a framework style implant known as the Subperiosteal Implant were used but then a Italian Dentist called Dr Stefano Melchaide Tramonte designed and patented a titanium screw to support his very own dental prosthesis. This was really the modern day implant as we know it

Moving forward

It’s only in the last 60 years that the world has discovered just how good titanium is and as such it continues to be used in dental implants today. Nowadays around 10,000 implants are carried out in the UK each year and titanium is the main source of dental implant. In Richmond for example, here at Sheen Dental we may have a preferred type of implant, but they are all made from titanium. Moving forwards, research is now being carried out into another material called zirconia. It’s derived from the metal zirconium and is similar in properties to titanium. However unlike titanium, zirconia is white in colour and better resembles teeth. It’s being trialled and tested as we speak, but more research is needed before it becomes a serious alternative or replacement for titanium.

If you want to know more about dental implants in Richmond then contact us on 020 8876 5277 or visit our website at


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