Titanium Dental Implants
No matter the reason you lost your tooth, it is important to look into replacing the missing tooth sooner rather than later. When you are reviewing the different treatment options, the dentist may suggest a dental implant. There are a variety of reasons why these are the most popular choice for tooth replacement, but they are permanent solutions that look and function like your natural teeth. You will be able to talk more clearly and chew more efficiently than you would with dentures.
The dentist is able to place and finalize your dental implant during a single appointment or over the course of multiple appointments, depending on your specific treatment plan. Each dental implant has a post that is placed in the jaw bone where it heals in that spot. The bone fuses with the implant through a process called osseointergration. Then an abutment is added to the top of the implant where the dental crown will attach to the implant. The post functions like a tooth root holding the crown in place securely and stimulating the jaw bone preventing bone deterioration.
In Sweden in 1952, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark discovered that titanium was able to bond with bone. From that point forward, doctors started to use titanium in knee and hip replacement surgeries. Doctors even used titanium to make prosthetics for heads and faces. The body treats titanium like a natural bone material; it is nontoxic. Titanium itself is nonallergenic so it is a universally tolerated material without any harmful effects in the body. Multiple studies have proven that titanium remains bonded with bone for 30 years or more.
One of the other important traits of titanium is that it is a corrosion resistant alloy, The material forms a protective layer of titanium dioxide on the outside. This protective layer prevents water and chemicals from penetrating and breaking it down or reducing its durability. The combination of metals that makes titanium results in a material that is very strong but it is not heavy. In fact, titanium is stronger than steel. In addition to its strength, titanium is able to be bent without affecting its original shape. In other words, titanium is strong, flexible and is biocompatible in the human body.
Titanium vs. Zirconium Implants
Other than titanium, dentists have been using zirconium for dental implants as well. In Europe, dentists have been using zirconium longer than they have been using it in the United States. The FDA approved zirconium for use in dental implants and the resulting studies have shown that zirconium is strong and long lasting. Zirconium is an alternative material to titanium for people who avoid using metals in their bodies or for people who have sensitivities to some of the metals used in the titanium alloys. So far, zirconium is shown to fuse with bone as well as titanium and the success rate of the implant surgeries is similar to titanium implant surgeries. Before deciding on a material, it is important to talk to the dentist about your different options based on which tooth you are replacing and your overall health. The dentist will be able to help you make the best choice for the results you are looking to achieve.