Dental implants can last a lifetime, especially if they are made from high-quality materials. Your teeth do more than just creating an attractive smile – they are essential for everyday activities, such as speaking and eating. Losing a tooth can affect how well you speak and eat, and it detracts from the cosmetic appeal of your smile.
Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that holds a dental crown, which looks and functions like your natural teeth. This means the dental implant must be strong enough to withstand the rigors of biting and chewing, but maintain its natural luster. The higher the quality of the dental implant materials, the sturdier and more natural-looking the implant will be.
A dental implant consists of three main parts:
- The dental implant – a metal post placed into the jawbone
- The dental crown – also known as a pontic, the dental crown looks like a natural tooth
- The abutment – connects the pontic to the implant
The dentist places the metal post into the jawbone. Over the course of several weeks, the jawbone fuses with the metal post to create a sturdy anchor in a process known as osseointegration. Once osseointegration is complete, the dentist places the dental crown.
Each component of a dental implant contains different materials that help the tooth replacement hold up well in a high-moisture, high-usage environment.
Materials Used in a Dental Implant
Titanium and zirconium are the most commonly used materials to create the post of in the dental implant. These high-quality materials are tough and strong enough to withstand the pressure of biting and chewing; they are also biocompatible, which means they are not harmful to the human body.
Titanium dental implants
When it comes to dental implants, titanium is the gold standard because it fuses with the jawbone and offers a unique combination of strength, durability, and biocompatibility. The titanium used in dental implants may be pure or an alloy combining two or more metals. Certain trace elements in alloys, such as iron, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen, make the titanium stronger. Dental implant manufacturers sometimes mix titanium with aluminum to create a low-density material resistant to both fatigue and corrosion.
Because titanium is biocompatible, there is a low chance that the body will reject a dental implant. It is possible for someone to be hypersensitive to titanium or any of its alloys. Fracture is also rare.
Zirconium dental implants
Like titanium, zirconium can fuse with bones to create a sturdy anchor for the dental crown. Zirconium may be the best choice for patients concerned about allergies or sensitivities.
Zirconium is biocompatible and resistant to corrosion, but it is more prone to fracture compared with titanium. Titanium is also better than zirconium for patients whose jawbones have low bone density.
Materials Used in an Abutment
The most common material used in abutments because it is durable, lightweight, and biocompatible; use of titanium is limited only for aesthetic purposes, as the abutment is often visible
Can be colored to match the patient’s teeth, thereby improving the esthetic quality of the abutment; abutments may be made entirely of zirconia or have a core made of titanium, cast gold, or surgical-grade steel with a zirconia exterior
Surgical grade stainless steel
Used in a variety of medical applications; also works well as an alloy containing elements of nickel, chromium, and molybdenum
A long-lasting material that creates a durable abutment; may be visible under the crown
Usually used for temporary restorations, as it is not as durable as other materials
Polyether ether ketone (PEEK)
Often reserved for temporary restorations, as it is not as durable as other materials
Materials Used for the Crown
Because the crown is the visible part of the dental implant, the material must look as good as it functions. While the dental implant can last a lifetime, the pontic may need replacing every 15 to 20 years.
Ceramic or porcelain crowns
The most commonly used material for dental crowns because ceramic and porcelain are solid, durable, and provide the look, feel, and function of natural teeth
Porcelain fused to gold
Combines the strength of gold with the aesthetics of porcelain to create a dental crown that could last up to 25 years with proper care; makers add porcelain to the substructure of the gold to extend the life of the dental crown without compromising its aesthetic appearance
Full cast gold
Gold is durable, especially when combined with silver, platinum, zinc, copper or other alloys; the gold crown has a yellow hue that makes it stand out from the patient’s natural teeth
Zirconia over titanium
Increasingly popular, as the zirconia may be colored to match natural teeth while the titanium provides strength; these crowns could last up to 40 years
Schedule An Appointment
For more information on dental implants and the quality materials that make them last a lifetime, contact your dentist in Vero Beach FL at Vero Implants & Periodontics.