Titanium Dental Implants
Dental implants are one of the most popular types of replacement options for missing teeth. Implants are strong and sturdy, allowing their wearer to speak and smile with confidence and enjoy a wide variety of foods, without worrying about removable dentures slipping, rubbing, or interfering. The most popular material for dental implants is titanium. Dental implants are made of a few separate parts. The crown, which is the replacement tooth, isn’t made of titanium, but the post that holds the crown in place, called the implant or implant fixture, is. The implant fixture is surgically implanted into the jawbone. For some types of implants, a separate abutment piece screws on to the top of the implant fixture and holds the crown in place; with other types of implants, this abutment is already affixed to the top of the implant when it is placed in the jaw. The crown attaches over the abutment and over any parts of the implant fixture that emerge from above the gums, rendering the implant and abutment invisible and creating a natural-looking option for replacing teeth.
Titanium is the material that is used most commonly for dental implants, because titanium is durable and strong but also lightweight and resilient. Titanium is also biocompatible, meaning that it is unlikely to trigger any allergic reactions and is also nontoxic and resistant to corrosion. Titanium is an excellent choice for dental implants because it bonds with bone effectively; in fact, it is the preferred material for many different types of implants and prostheses. This bonding strength allows implants to help restore and preserve the patient’s bone density. When a titanium implant is placed in the jaw, it is essentially replacing the root of the tooth that was once there. Part of the healing process for titanium implants includes a process called osseointegration. As the implant heals, the bone that surrounds it fuses to the implant itself, which stimulates additional bone growth and provides a firm foundation for the dental crown. Once the implant has fully fused and integrated with the surrounding bone, the abutment is screwed to the top of the implant and the crown is bonded into place. Other types of dental implants are positioned above the jaw bone and under the gum tissue; these are nowhere near as sturdy as titanium implants and are not supported by the bone in the same way. Titanium implants, on the other hand, can be expected to last 30 years or more, with the proper maintenance and care.
More recent innovations in dentistry have led to the creation of implants made of zirconium. While initial evidence indicates that zirconium offers an implant success rate that is comparable to titanium, zirconium has not been used as long as titanium has, so longer-term success cannot yet be determined. If you’re interested in learning more about titanium implants or implants that use zirconium, a consultation with your dentist is the first step. The process of placing any type of dental restorations requires an initial consultation, so schedule with your dentist today to learn more about replacement options for your missing teeth. Soon, you could be smiling, speaking, and, best of all, eating with all the confidence and joy you remember.