Dental implants are the gold standard in tooth replacement. They offer a solution that is both highly functional and natural in appearance - with success and longevity on their side. Despite all of the benefits, many patients express concern about implanting something into their bodies and wonder whether or not it is a safe and healthy choice.
The good news is that dental implants are made of materials that are safe for use in humans, such as titanium.
How Dental Implants Work
Before we start discussing the specific pieces of a dental implant, it may help to understand the different parts of one - and how they come together. First, a small post is implanted into the jaw bone where the missing tooth once was. With time, that post and the jaw bone fuse together creating a very sturdy support anchor for the artificial tooth.
Traditionally, an abutment is added to the post and is used to hold the artificial tooth - a dental crown - in place. It does so securely allowing the tooth to be used just like a real tooth.
Titanium is the original type of artificial root that has been implanted for many years - since 1950, in fact. And it is still very widely used today. Titanium is strong yet light and it works well for fusing with the jaw bone. These posts have a very high success rate in maintaining their strength - even lasting a lifetime.
Titanium has been proven to be a safe metal for use in the human body. Yet some individuals seem to have a sensitivity to metals and an even smaller number have an allergy to titanium. Therefore, an alternative has been sought over the years and has finally made its way into the market - zirconia.
Zirconia is a ceramic material that is completely free of metal and is hypoallergenic which means it is a material that will not trigger any sensitivities or allergic reactions. It, too, can be implanted into the jaw bone and has shown success with its ability to fuse together. Keep in mind that while this material has been used for a couple of decades in dentistry, its use as an implant is relatively new so the data on its longevity is lacking.
Investing in a dental procedure that you are not familiar with, like dental implants, is going to prompt questions - and that’s ok. At R. Renan Williams, DDS, we will help guide you through your options and answer any questions you may have. We want to help you make the most informed decisions possible when it comes to your oral health.