There are around 120 million people in the United States who are missing one or more teeth. Missing teeth can be a problem for a variety of reasons. Not only can missing teeth lower your self-esteem, but they can also interfere with how well you can chew or speak.
Fortunately, dental implants can solve these problems. But what are dental implants made of? Are certain dental implants better than others?
Keep reading to see why dental implants are so important and what kind of materials they may contain.
What You Need To Know About Dental Implants
Dental implants are designed to replace a missing tooth. Most dental implants are very realistic. Some are so realistic that most people won't even be able to tell your dental implant from your real teeth.
This, of course, is the goal. The great thing about dental implants is that they are the perfect choice for replacing one or a few teeth at a time. This is unlike other dental devices that may require you to be missing many or all of your teeth.
A dental implant is very convenient, and once it is installed into your mouth, you'll be able to get back to your normal life. Some find dental implants to be a bit uncomfortable at first, but over time, you'll forget that your dental implant is even there. The dental implant process is quite lengthy, which is one of the few downsides of getting a dental implant.
However, the process needs to be lengthy to give you plenty of time to heal and ensure that the dental implant is in good shape. The dental implant begins with a metal post that must be drilled into your jawbone. The post needs to be installed into your jawbone because the bone will act as an anchor for the implant.
Once your dentist places the post into the bone, the bone will start to grow around it after a week or so. This will secure the post in place and ensure that it is ready for the next step, which is to install the rest of the implant. The next part of the implant is the abutment.
The abutment is a small device that acts as a cushion between the metal post and the dental crown of the implant. Without the abutment, the metal post and the dental crown would ground against each other and potentially damage each other. The last step of the procedure is installing the dental crown.
The dental crown is the part of the implant that looks like a real tooth. It is also the part of the implant that you will chew food with, so it is very durable. Getting an implant may take a few months in total.
While this is a long time, many people find that dental implants are worth it. After all, they look just like real teeth and are very durable. But what are they made of, and what kind of material choices are there?
Material Choices for the Metal Post
There are many dental implant materials to choose from, and the dental implant material cost is also an important factor to consider. When thinking of different materials, people usually think of the materials used for the dental crown. However, the materials for the metal post of the implant are also important.
Titanium has long been the most popular option for the metal post of a dental implant. This is because titanium is a very durable metal. More than that, once the dentist drills the titanium metal post into the jaw bone, the motel post should be permanently anchored to the bone.
This is very important because, after all, you wouldn't want your dental implant to be wiggling around in its socket. Another benefit of using titanium is that it is very long-lasting. These implants can easily last several decades without ever needing to be replaced.
Some people may never need to replace their dental implants. Yet another benefit of using titanium is that it is quite affordable, especially when compared with other materials used in dental implants. So, if you're on a tight budget and want something that will last a long time, get titanium implants.
The other option is to get zirconia implants. Zirconia implants are quite new, but they have one major benefit: they are perfect for those who have metal allergies. While very few people are allergic to titanium, there is a small group that will have an allergic reaction to a titanium post.
An allergy will usually result in the area becoming swollen and painful. To fix this problem, a person with a titanium allergy will get a zirconia implant as a substitute. Zirconia implants may also be easier and faster to install.
What to Know
This is because these implants come in one whole piece. This is in contrast to titanium implants which come in three pieces and can be a bit more difficult to install. There are some cases in which the dentist may use a unique material for the metal post.
For example, gold alloys are not common, but they are sometimes used as metal posts for dental implants. Gold is hypoallergenic, so this is one benefit of using this kind of implant. Gold is also quite durable and should last quite a while.
Unsurprisingly, however, gold implants are quite expensive. The other option is a cobalt alloy. This is yet another implant type that is not very common, although dentists occasionally use it. Cobalt implants are indeed durable, but they are not as efficient or as high-quality as titanium implants.
In general, titanium implants are seen as the best choice for dental implants. This is because of how durable and efficient they are. They don't cause problems for most people, but if you know you have an allergy to titanium, then your next best option will be a zirconia dental implant.
Porcelain Dental Implants
Once you figure out the material for the metal post of the implant, it will be time to figure out the material used for the dental crown. The material used for the dental crown of the implant is very important to consider for various reasons. The first reason is that the dental crown will be the only part of the implant that people can see.
For that reason, you will want the implant to be as realistic as possible. The implant wouldn't look good if it was noticeably different from the color and appearance of your other teeth. The other reason why the material for the dental crown is important is that it needs to be as durable as possible.
After all, the last thing you would want is for your dental implant to crack or become damaged soon after getting it installed. The dental crown needs to e as strong as your real teeth, if not stronger. This is because it needs to sustain the force of chewing on food every day.
Over time, this motion can grind down your teeth, so your implant should be able to sustain that motion for many years without experiencing any problems. Porcelain is a very popular choice to fit the bill. Porcelain is known to be a very life-like material.
Its texture and appearance are very similar to that of a real tooth. Your dentist can also choose the right type of porcelain to match the color of the rest of your teeth. This will produce the most realistic result. Porcelain can also be shaped to resemble the shape of your other teeth.
The Benefits of Porcelain
This is important because if your implant is a different color than the rest of your teeth or shaped differently than your other teeth, it will stick out like a sore thumb. But with enough shaping and refining, a porcelain dental implant should blend right in with your other teeth. Porcelain dental implants are also famous for being very durable.
Such an implant shouldn't have any problem standing up to all sorts of chewing, talking, and other actions. Most people have had their implants for several decades, and the implants never get worn down or take any damage. The main risk is that porcelain implants may become discolored if you don't take good care of them over the years.
This is especially true if you often consume things that contain dark pigments, like red wine or coffee. You can prevent this simply by brushing your teeth along with your dental implant every day, especially after consuming substances with dark pigments. Besides that, porcelain implants are very unlikely to crack or chip.
The main downside is that porcelain implants are very expensive. This is not too surprising since porcelain, in general, is an expensive material, and it needs to be crafted in a very particular way to act as a dental implant. If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a dental implant, your next best option is a ceramic implant.
Ceramic Dental Implants
Ceramic dental implants are very popular, perhaps just as popular as porcelain dental implants. Ceramic dental implants share many features with porcelain dental implants. For example, ceramic dental implants are also known to be very realistic.
As long as the dentist chooses the right implant to match the rest of your teeth, the ceramic implant should easily blend into your mouth and look just like any of your other teeth. Ceramic implants also come in various shades so that your dentist can match the implant with the color of the rest of your teeth.
Ceramic implants are also quite affordable. They tend to be a few hundred dollars more affordable than porcelain implants, if not more. This is because ceramic is a material that is easy to obtain and work with.
It is also a very durable material, although it may not be quite as durable as porcelain. It should be able to say in good shape for many years, but it is a bit more likely to chip or crack compared to porcelain implants. However, as long as you take good care of your implant, this shouldn't happen.
Caring for Ceramic Implants
For example, you should stay away from hard foods like peanuts, and you shouldn't chew on ice or your fingernails. As long as you do that, you won't put any unnecessary pressure on your implant. Ceramic implants have the same discoloration problem as porcelain.
So, if you don't want your implant to get discolored, be sure to brush your teeth after you eat or drink anything. That way, your implant should stay in good shape for many years. If your ceramic implant ever does happen to get damaged, you shouldn't worry because these implants can easily be replaced.
However, even if you don't take care of your implant at all, it should still last several years before ever needing to be replaced. On average, a ceramic dental implant should last around 15 years. By that time, it may start to show some signs of damage and wear and tear.
What Are Dental Implants Made Of?
What are dental implants made of, you might ask? Dental implants can be made of many different materials. For example, the metal post of an implant may be made of titanium or zirconia, both materials being very durable. For the dental crown of the implant, the most common choices are ceramic and porcelain.
Both options also look very life-like and can match your real teeth perfectly. To learn more, contact us here or schedule a consultation with us.