Dental Implants - Pacific Northwest Dental - Dentist Beaverton

From Bamboo to Titanium: The Fascinating History of Dental Implants

March 11, 2023

Are you curious about how dental implants have evolved from the ancient use of bamboo to the modern titanium technology we know today? You’re not alone! Dental implants are a fascinating topic with a rich history that spans centuries. In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into the origins and evolution of dental implants, exploring their remarkable journey from humble beginnings to high-tech breakthroughs. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be amazed by the incredible innovations that have transformed dentistry forever!

The Early History of Dental Implants: Ancient Times

The first dental implants were made of materials that were readily available at the time, such as wood, ivory, and bone. These early implants were used to replace missing teeth, and they were sometimes even decorated with jewels. The first recorded use of dental implants dates back to 600 AD, when Mayan women used pieces of jade to replace their missing teeth.

Dental implants continued to be made from a variety of materials over the centuries. In 17th-century France, for example, dental implants were made from human or animal teeth that were transplanted into the jawbone. This was a painful and often unsuccessful procedure. In the 18th century, dentists began experimenting with different materials for dental implants, including porcelain and gold.

It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that modern dental implants were developed. In 1952, a Swedish surgeon named Per-Ingvar Brånemark placed titanium rods in the bones of rabbits and found that they bonded with the bone tissue. This discovery led to the development of titanium dental implants, which are still used today.

The Evolution of Dental Implants: From Bamboo to Titanium

The first dental implants were made of bamboo, and date back to around 600 AD. These early implants were placed under the gum line and held in place by a metal cap. The development of dental implants took a major leap forward in 1952 when Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark began experimenting with titanium. He found that titanium could fuse with bone, and developed the first modern dental implant. Today, titanium is the standard material for dental implants and has helped millions of people regain their smiles.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Modern Dental Implants

Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth. However, they are not right for everyone. Here are some things to consider before getting dental implants:


• Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth.

• Dental implants are very strong and durable and can last a lifetime with proper care.

• Dental implants can help preserve bone in the jaw and prevent deterioration of the surrounding teeth.


• Dental implants require surgery, which means there is a risk of infection and complications.

• Dental implants can be expensive, and insurance may not cover the cost.

Surgical Techniques Used for Placing Implants

Today, there are different surgical techniques that can be used for placing dental implants. The most common technique is the placement of an implant into the jawbone through a small incision in the gum tissue. This technique is called subperiosteal implantation and is often used when there is not enough bone height for a standard implant. Other surgical techniques that can be used for placing dental implants include:

– Transcrestal: An incision is made through the hard palate (roof of the mouth) to place the implant. This technique is used when there is insufficient bone in the upper jaw.

– Zygomatic: Implants are placed in the cheekbone area. This technique is used when there is insufficient bone in the upper jaw.

– Intraoral: An incision is made inside the mouth to place the implant. This technique is used when there is insufficient bone in either the upper or lower jaw.

Types of Materials Used for Manufacturing Dental Implants

There are a variety of materials that can be used for dental implants, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The most common material used for dental implants is titanium, which is strong and durable, making it ideal for supporting a dental prosthesis. However, titanium can be expensive and may require special care to avoid corrosion. Other commonly used materials for dental implants include stainless steel, cobalt-chrome alloy, and zirconia.

Source: Consult-PRO: Dental Education


Dental implants have come a long way from their humble bamboo beginnings to the sophisticated titanium implants of today. From restoring function and aesthetics in individual cases to being used as part of more comprehensive treatments such as full-mouth reconstructions and smile makeovers, dental implants are an essential component of modern dentistry. With continued research and development, we can look forward to even better materials and techniques in the future that will help us maintain or improve our smiles for years to come.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are artificial replacement teeth that are surgically placed in the jawbone to support a dental prosthesis such as a denture, bridge, or crown.

How long have dental implants been used?

The first recorded use of dental implants dates back to 600 AD when Mayan women were observed to have pieces of jade or shell inserted into their jaws to support missing teeth.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants offer many benefits over other tooth replacement options, such as improved appearance, better chewing function, and increased durability.