Once you replace a missing tooth with a dental implant, you’ll notice the big difference it makes in your everyday life. You’ll have the freedom to eat whatever you want again, and you’ll no longer have any reason feel shy about giving strangers a grin. How can dental implants help create such fully functional, natural-looking smiles? It’s all thanks to the materials specially chosen to create your new teeth.
What are the Different Parts of a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are posts that have been surgically inserted into the jaw and have joined with the bone through a process called osseointegration. A crown that replaces a single tooth is attached to the post via a device called an abutment. Implants serve as the “roots” of prosthetic teeth, holding them firmly in place and providing stability. Because of this, crowns that are supported by implants have chewing power that’s almost equal to that of regular teeth. Furthermore, the stimulation from the implants will stop the jawbone from breaking down over time.
What are Dental Implant Posts Made Of?
In most cases, dental implants are made of titanium. This is because titanium is a biocompatible metal, meaning it can easily fuse with human bones. (It’s actually used in other medical procedures as well, such as hip and knee replacements.) Titanium implants have a very high success rate and are both strong and durable while still being lightweight; they also have a long lifespan that typically reaches 30 years or more.
In recent years, some implants have been made out of zirconia. This is usually done when a patient has an allergy to titanium. Unlike titanium posts that are topped with a separate abutment and crown, zirconia implants are a single unit (a post attached directly to the crown), meaning fewer appointments are needed.
What are Implant Crowns Made Of?
Crowns that rest on implants are usually made of ceramics like porcelain. These materials are very similar in appearance to natural teeth and can be customized to match the rest of your smile; for example, the porcelain can be shaded differently depending on the color of your other teeth. The result is that ceramic crowns look very natural in the mouth, especially since the titanium components of the implant will be hidden under the gum line. Most people won’t even realize you have a false tooth unless you tell them!
Of course, picking the right materials for dental implants depends largely on the needs of the patient. Titanium allergies are rare, but they can cause severe issues with regular implants. Talk with your dentist about the current state of your oral health; be sure to let them know about any preexisting medical conditions. That information will help them design a new tooth that’ll keep you happy and healthy.
About the Author
Dr. Richard A. Cea has spent 18 years serving the Colorado Springs community at his practice, Springs Dental Care. He’s a member of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and as such he’s an expert in placing dental implants made of the highest quality material. To schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (719) 637-1772.