What are Dental Implants Made Of?

January 28, 2014

Dental implant technology is nothing new. The archeological record shows evidence of primitive dental implants as many as 4000 years ago. Made from bone and shell fragments, carved ivory, or the teeth of other animals, these early replacement teeth were almost always rejected by the body. Needless to say, dental technology has advanced to a point that we no longer need to turn to the animal world for new teeth. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the high-tech materials that go into dental implants.

The Implant Posts

Made from medical grade titanium, the implant post refers to the part that is inserted into the jaw to replace the root of the missing tooth. Titanium boasts two primary advantages as a biomedical material over other metals. First, it’s biocompatible, meaning that it will not trigger the body’s foreign body reaction. In other words, your body won’t reject a titanium implant. Also, titanium fuses on a cellular level with surrounding bone tissue creating a highly stable support structure. Titanium will also last for a long time, even in the harsh environment of the mouth. In fact, the very first set of titanium implants ever placed (in a Swedish patient named Gosta Larsson in 1965) continued to function for 40 years.

The Abutment

This essential component connects the implant post to the restoration via a tiny screw. The abutment’s torque provides stability to the total implant structure while chewing. Abutments can be made from a number of materials, including titanium, surgical steel, ceramic, and zirconia. Ceramic and zirconia abutments provide a more natural-looking core for a dental implant, and are a great option for dental implants placed in the front of the mouth.

The Restoration

This broad term can refer to a number of different artificial teeth. A single dental crown or bridge, a partial denture, and even full denture plates can be used to replace a given patient’s missing teeth. Dentists tend to prefer all-ceramic or zirconia for implant crowns and bridges. Implant secured dentures can be made from everything from acrylic to zirconia.

About Brad Greenfield, DDS

Dr. Brad Greenfield practices family, restorative, cosmetic, and sedation dentistry with a holistic approach to patient care and comfort. To schedule an appointment at our Lake Orion, MI dentist office, call (248) 693-6213. We proudly serve patients of all ages in Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Oxford, Rochester Hills, and neighboring communities.

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