A common question when it comes to implants is what exactly rare they made out of? While there are a variety of materials used to make the crown of the implant – the crown is the tooth-like portion that forms the top of the implant – the actual metal post that is set into the jaw is often made out of titanium.
The Bio-available Wonder Metal
Titanium is a strong and durable metal, with a special property that makes it a fantastic choice for medical uses, including in dental implants. Titanium can be used in any part of the body, and in a variety of procedures, from neurosurgery, to pacemakers, to join replacements and more. The main reason why titanium is used is because titanium is very bio-compatible.
Bio-compatibility is defined as the ability of a material to perform with an appropriate host response in a specific situation. Whenever a foreign object is introduced, the body enters into an alert status and the cells around the site that the implant is placed can become inflamed and try to reject the implant. Titanium does not elicit this inflammatory response, so that the implant is less likely to be rejected and the implant will be grown around and even incorporated into the existing bodily systems.
When something is bio-compatible, it means that it works very well within the body. It resists most of the corrosive effects of fluids naturally present in the body. This wonder metal can resist the intense, harsh environment found in the body and does not react with the surrounding environment. It also allows bones to physically bond to the surface of the metal, increasing their durability and their strength.
Why use it in implants?
When it comes to dental implants, the special properties of titanium make it especially useful for creating a solid bond to the jaw. When a tooth is lost, the jaw bone under the gap will begin to decay, and eventually the other teeth with edge into the gap to try to close it. This can deform the jaw and lead to problems with chewing and possibly even more tooth decay.
With a dental implant made from titanium many of these problems are solved. Because titanium actually allows bone to grow on its surface, the jaw can be restored to its natural state without fear of further decay as long as the implant is in place.
There are five definitions of bio-compatibility that are used as a guideline:
- The material must not have a toxic or injurious effect on biological systems.
- The ability of a material to perform with an appropriate host response in a specific application.
- Comparison of the tissue response produced through the close association of the implanted candidate material to its implant site within the host animal to that tissue response recognized and established as suitable with control materials
- Refers to the ability of a bio-material to perform its desired function with respect to a medical therapy, without eliciting any undesirable local or systemic effects in the recipient or beneficiary of that therapy, but generating the most appropriate beneficial cellular or tissue response in that specific situation, and optimizing the clinically relevant performance of that therapy
- Bio-compatibility is the capability of a prosthesis implanted in the body to exist in harmony with tissue without causing deleterious changes
You can see from these various definitions that titanium matches them all. It is because of its unique properties and its incredible strength and durability that titanium is used in dental implants. It is a non-toxic, non-destructive alternative to many other metals.
If you are concerned that the use of titanium in a dental implant may have a negative effect on your health, you can put your mind at ease. Titanium is not only the safest metal to use, but the most widely adopted metal of choice. Without the special properties of titanium, dental implants would be a much riskier option. However, because of how bio-available titanium is, dental implants are a safe, reliable, and long-term investment in your smile and in your oral health.
If you have further questions, or concerns, speak with your oral health care provider. They will be able to clear up any confusion, or doubt you may still be having, or work with you to find an alternative.