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The World’s Oldest Dental Implant

National Periodontics - Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Periodontist Blog

A good method of providing dental implants is not a new necessity for human society. Throughout our history, we have had to battle the loss of our teeth to decay or accident. This has bred some real ingenuity, and tooth replacement solutions have included some interesting examples.

These have included the use of such materials as wood, shells, and stones, but one of the more interesting varieties was discovered in a mouth of a woman who died nearly fifteen thousand years ago. Her remains were found mummified, in an ornate tomb in northern Italy. She was a woman of some standing in the community, as evidenced by the accompanying trinkets and metal ornaments. Such resources no doubt came in handy when she developed a cavity; its replacement proved to be among the more rare examples we have found so far.

The cavity hole had been enlarged, likely by small stone tools, and the void had been filled by a bitumen mix. This liquid form of asphalt is found naturally, but is nowadays more often developed as a material used in road surface repairs. It’s sticky and malleable nature meant it was an ideal solution for this particular dental issue, although it is the only example so far found.

It remains to be seen whether this particular solution will come back in to style in the future. For now, we can be happy that modern methods of providing dental implants are as pain-free, and long-lasting, as they have evolved to be.

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