First Implant May Have Been Discovered

A tooth found in France may prove to be a historic discovery.

Scientists believe the tooth could be the first dental implant in recorded history. The tooth was found in northern France and could be about 2,300 years old, dating back to the Iron Age. Archeologists discovered the tooth in the corpse of woman who was thought to be in her 20s when she died.

The tooth is thought to have been used for decorative purposes to make the body look more attractive. An iron implant in a live person would have caused extreme pain.

The corpse was discovered and excavated in 2009 but was not preserved well. The teeth were in the correct anatomical position despite the condition of the body. A metal pin was then located alongside the teeth.

In those days, people believed that a person’s corpse should still look good and his or her status was related to the way he or she appeared—even after death.

Based on the early information, researchers think this implant precedes the implant that was previously thought to be the oldest by about 400 years. That tooth was found in France, as well, during the 1990s.