Dental Implants and Titanium
Tooth loss is a serious issue that affects not only your smile but your abilities to eat and speak as well. Tooth loss also leads to a lack of stimulation in the jawbone, which eventually leads to a weakening of the bone. As it weakens, it begins to change shape, altering your bite and causing several other complications. Traditional treatments for tooth loss can restore the basic functions of your teeth as well as the appearance of your smile, but they cannot stop the bone loss that occurs. At Ford Dental Group, we offer a modern alternative, dental implants. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that puts a stop to bone loss and preserve the integrity of your jawbone. This is all possible because of the titanium posts.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a revolutionary treatment for replacing missing teeth and are unlike any other treatment available. Implants consist of titanium posts, which are surgically implanted into your jawbone. Gradually, as you heal, your natural bone begins to fuse with the titanium, slowly integrating them into your jaw and transforming them into strong, stable roots. Once you have fully healed, your replacement crowns are screwed in place on the implants, and you are left with a secure, permanent solution to tooth loss.
Why is Titanium Used for Dental Implants?
The use of titanium for modern-day dental implants stems from the research of a Swedish orthopedic surgeon by the name of Per-Ingvar Bråenmark. In the 1950s, he was researching bone healing and regeneration when he found a titanium cylinder he had placed in the femur of a rabbit had become fused to the bone. This accidental discovery sparked further research and eventually led to the successful implantation of the first dental implants in the 1960s.
Original titanium implants were made of pure titanium. This material, however, proved too soft. The implants that are used today are made of a titanium alloy. The addition of other metals has vastly improved their strength and reliability. Titanium is a biocompatible material that is well tolerated by the jawbone. As you heal from surgery, your jawbone fuses to it, turning it into part of your jaw.
Titanium is also a versatile material. Thanks to continued research and development, they are available as a single piece and two-piece implants. Two-piece implants allow the posts to be implanted at an angle while keeping the ceramic crowns aligned properly in your mouth. This enables the posts to take full advantage of your jawbone, which helps to greatly increase the success and stability of the implants.
Are There any Drawbacks to Titanium?
While titanium implants have a 98% success rate, the material is not the ideal solution for everyone. For those with metal allergies, titanium can cause infections and other complications, including implant rejection or failure. There are also some patients who have concerns over the idea of implanting metal into their bodies, and therefore are looking for an alternative.
Are There Alternatives to Titanium?
Concerns with the use of titanium have spurred research into alternative materials. The material that shows the most promise is Zirconia. Zirconia implants are known as ceramic implants, even though they do contain trace amounts of metal for strength. These implants are white in color, perfectly matching the color of the ceramic crowns. This provides an aesthetic benefit over titanium, particularly in situations of thin or receding gums. Zirconia is strong, and biocompatible, just like titanium. Moreover, just like titanium, your bone fuses to these types of implants as you heal. The major drawback to Zirconia is that there is not as much research behind the material. Zirconia implants are also only available as single piece implants, meaning that they need to be placed precisely. If you lack sufficient bone mass, these implants cannot be placed at an angle.
Schedule Your Dental Implant Consultation
Replacing missing teeth is essential for restoring your quality of life. For more information, and to schedule your dental implant consultation, call Ford Dental Group today at (714) 409-6161.