Believe it or not the earliest dental implants were discovered in Honduras at the excavation of a Mayan burial site in 1931.  The remains dated back to 600 AD.

Archeologists discovered a fragment of a mandible, believed to belong to a female in her early 20s.  She had three tooth shaped pieces of shell placed into the sockets of missing teeth.  Deciding whether the shells were placed into the mandible during her life or post-mortem was a highly debated topic.

However, in 1970 a Brazilian dental academic, Professor Amadeo Bobbio studied the mandibular specimen and took a series of radiographs. He noted compact bone formation around two of the implants which led him to conclude that the implants were placed during life.[1]

Dr Lenard Linkow is considered to be the father of modern implant dentistry.  He began placing implants in 1952; by the time he retired in 2002 he placed over 19,000 dental implants and published 12 books on the subject.

[1] Wikipedia;

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