Titanium and Dental Implants
Tooth loss has several causes, including gum disease, tooth decay, facial trauma and more. No matter how you lose your teeth, the effects are all the same. Tooth loss makes once simple tasks like eating and speaking more difficult. Your smile deteriorates, as does your confidence. Your jawbone begins to change shape, altering your bite. Previously, missing teeth have been replaced with dental bridges or dentures. At Rogue Valley Dental Center, we offer the latest in tooth replacement technology, dental implants. Moreover, one of the integral components of dental implants is their titanium posts.
Dental implants are the latest option available for replacing missing teeth, providing a revolutionary alternative to bridges and dentures. They consist of small titanium posts, which are surgically implanted into the jaw. As you heal from surgery, your bone begins to fuse to the posts, a process known as osseointegration. Successful osseointegration stabilizes the posts within your jaw, essentially turning them into stable roots that are used to support your replacement crowns, holding them securely in place. Implants can be used to replace any number of missing teeth, from one tooth to all of them. Caring for dental implants like natural teeth, is crucial because dental implants are permanent.
Why Titanium for Implants?
The use of titanium for dental implants dates back to the 1960s. It stems from an accidental discovery made by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon who was researching bone healing and regeneration in the 1950s. After implanting a titanium cylinder in the femur of a rabbit, the surgeon discovered that the bone had begun to fuse with it when he went to remove it.
Today’s implants are made of a titanium alloy, as pure titanium proved to be too soft. Titanium alloy is exceptionally strong. The material is biocompatible, and well-tolerated by the jaw. As you heal from surgery, your natural bone fuses to the titanium, integrating them into the jaw. Along with being strong, titanium implants are also versatile. They are available as single piece implants and two-piece implants. Two-piece implants mean that the implants can be placed at an angle, taking maximum advantage of your existing bone mass, while allowing the crowns to sit in natural alignment.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Titanium?
While titanium is a great material for dental implants, it is not ideal for everyone. Patients who have allergies to metals may not be able to tolerate the posts in the jaw, which can lead to allergic reactions and an increased risk of implant failure. Some patients are also not comfortable with the idea of having metal implanted into their jaws.
Are There Alternatives to Titanium?
Research is continually being done into alternative materials for titanium implants. One of the most promising materials is Zirconia. Zirconia implants are often referred to as ceramic implants, although they do contain trace amounts of metals that are essential for providing strength. These implants are white in color, just like the ceramic crowns. This means that, in the event of thin gums or gum recession, the posts are not noticeable. Like titanium, Zirconia implants are biocompatible. Your jawbone fuses to Zirconia as you heal from surgery, just like it does to titanium. One of the major disadvantages of Zirconia, however, is that they are only available as single piece implants, and need to be placed precisely.
Replacing missing teeth is essential for restoring your quality of life. Call Rogue Valley Dental Center today for more information and to schedule your consultation to find out if dental implants are right for you at (541) 622-2525.