Titanium has become the material of choice in a number of dental applications (such as dental implants) due to its mechanical properties, resistance to erosion and biocompatibility. Despite other materials for implants being introduced over the years, titanium implants have stood the test of time and continue to be a popular choice today.
Titanium is considered to be a miracle metal in dentistry – here’s why.
It’s extremely durable
Titanium implants need to be strong and durable, as they have to support your jaw’s bite force, which is significant. Titanium alloy has a similar tensile strength to steel (its resistance to breaking down under pressure) and has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of all metals.
Fractures in titanium implants are rare, as it is highly resistant to external forces. It should come as no surprise that titanium is used on space shuttles and Formula 1 race cars! It’s that strong – meaning it’s a great choice to help your dental implant last for years and withstand the forces you’ll subject it to.
It’s very lightweight
In addition to being strong, dental implants also need to be light. They’re going to be worn in your jaw for years and years, so you don’t want a big lump of heavy metal constricting your mouth.
Yes, titanium alloy is similar in strength to steel, but it’s also around 45% lighter, making it ideal for use in dental implants.
Titanium implants have been proven to last. The first titanium implants were placed in 1965 – and these incredibly lasted for over 40 years!
They have proven their longevity time and again with a vast range of patients, so that we know with certainty that your titanium implants are an extremely cost effective and long-lasting solution to your dental problems.
The idea of putting metal into your mouth for a long period of time can be off-putting for some people. However, titanium is biocompatible, meaning it’s anti-allergenic, and is accepted and tolerated well by your body.
Allergic reactions to titanium implants are very rare and it’s generally considered non-toxic to the human body.
It allows osseointegration
Osseointegration is the process whereby your dental implant fuses with your jaw. It usually takes months for this to happen, and it’s a crucial part of the implant process. There are only a few materials known to bring about osseointegration – titanium being one of them.
Titanium allows the implant to become tightly integrated into your bone, making it strong and stable. This is why titanium is also used to replace knee and hip joints and vertebrae.
To read more about the dental implant process, click here
The corrosive resistant properties of titanium are extremely necessary for dental implants – and are second to none. Titanium is considered to be an oxygen-getter, meaning it forms protective oxide layers on its surface. This helps protect the implant against a wide range of aggressive substances that could damage it.
Pure titanium and its alloys are non-magnetic, meaning it’s not susceptible to outside interference. It won’t trigger a metal detector and can be safely used with magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs).
It’s flexible and elastic
The flexibility and elasticity of titanium mirrors that of human bone, meaning a titanium implant is capable of sharing stress applied to it with the surrounding bone. Not only will this keep the bone active and strong, it also reduces the potential for implant failure.
The alternatives are not yet proven
Zirconia is a strong alternative to titanium in the dental field – it fuses well with bone and is aesthetically pleasing. However, zirconia implants, while offering certain benefits, are not yet in routine use but are still undergoing research. It’s hard to say whether they’ll stand the test of time, as they haven’t been in use long enough to provide conclusive evidence. As well, zirconia implants have an even higher cost than titanium ones, making them out of reach for many people.
Are there any drawbacks to titanium implants?
· Cost – titanium implants don’t come cheap, but that’s for a reason, as titanium is considered the material of choice for implants. And it’s cheaper than many of the alternatives.
· A very small percentage of people are allergic to titanium – but there is no material that is universally non-allergenic and biocompatible. Titanium does the job better than most.
· Rarely, titanium implants can cause toxicity in patients – although keep in mind, this is very rare.
If you’d like to speak to a qualified and experienced dentist about titanium implants, contact Lentini Dental here