14 Milestones in Dental Implant History

Dental Products ReportDental Products Report October 2021
Volume 55
Issue 10

A look at the development—from ancient times to today's cutting edge—of dental implant designs and the technologies used for dental implant placement.

Max Barattini / stock.adobe.com

Max Barattini / stock.adobe.com

Replacing missing teeth has long been a priority for civilizations around the globe long before the advent of science-based oral care. Whether accomplished with dentures, bridges, or various objects wedged into the space created by a lost tooth, implant-supported replacements have always sought a balance between esthetics and functionality. The advent of the modern dental implant best realized this ideal. Here is a timeline noting 14 steps along the way to developing implants as we know them today.

  1. Approx. 2000 BCE
    The oldest evidence of dental implants comes from China, where bamboo pegs were once used as replacements for missing teeth.
  2. Approx. 600 ACE
    The oldest records of dental implants integrated into the jawbone are osseointegrated seashell implants found at a Mayan archeological site.
  3. 1700s-1800s
    Numerous implant materials including human teeth, precious metals, and porcelain were used but often failed to osseointegrate.
  4. 1913
    With a hollow, cylindrical “cage” of iridio-platinum topped with soldered gold crown, Dr EJ Greenfield pioneers one of the first successful implant designs.
  5. 1930s
    Brothers Drs Alvin and Moses Strock developed the first metal “screw” style of implant that proved to be biocompatible using a chromium-cobalt alloy.
  6. 1938
    Dr PB Adams patented an implant design featuring internal and external threading as well as a smooth gingival collar and healing cap.
  7. 1940s
    Researchers M. Formiggini and F. Zepponi pioneer a spiral post–style implant made from stainless steel. During this period, Dr Gustav Dahl develops the subperiosteal implant that sits on top of the bone rather than osseointegrating.
  8. 1952
    Per-Ingvar Brånemark discovers and coins the term osseointegration while working with titanium implants placed in rabbit femurs.
  9. 1963
    Dr Leonard Linkow develops a blade-style implant featuring a flat metal plate that is implanted in the jaw rather than a screw.
  10. 1965
    Brånemark places 4 modern-style titanium dental implants in Gösta Larsson, a patient with jaw and chin deformities.
  11. 1978
    Brånemark officially debuts the 2-stage threaded titanium implants used with Larsson and other patients while testing his concepts.
  12. 1998
    Dr Paulo Maló pioneers the All-on-4 technique allowing faster delivery of full-arch, implant-supported restorations.
  13. 2005
    Nobel Biocare launches NobelGuide, the first 3D treatment planning and guided implant surgery platform.
  14. 2017
    Neocis obtains FDA approval for Yomi, the first robotic guidance system for dental implants.
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