Dental implants provide a realistic and permanent solution to missing teeth. But what are dental implants made of?
It depends on what part of the implant we’re talking about and a few other factors. We look at the most common options below.
What Are Dental Implants Made Of?
Let’s begin by talking about the three main parts of a dental implant. First there is the implant itself that goes into the gums. Then there is the artificial tooth part of it that people actually see. And then there is the abutment that connects the two.
These three components are not necessarily made out of the same material. So let’s look at each and see what material (or materials) they could be made out of.
The Implant Itself
The implant itself is made out of metal. Most commonly the type of metal is a titanium alloy.
When you get a dental implant, a key part of the process is known as osseointegration. This is where your dental implant fuses with your jawbone. Once the implant and jawbone fuse together, the implant will act as a natural tooth root.
Titanium is common for implants because it easily fuses to the bone. But titanium is not the only material that an implant dentist may use in this situation.
An alternative to titanium is zirconia. Zirconia is made of ceramic material, making it compatible for people who have allergies, or sensitivity, to other materials.
Much like titanium, zirconia fuses well enough with the jawbone.
After the titanium or zirconia fuses with the jawbone, what is next is the second surgery. The second surgery places the abutment.
Abutment is the process of setting up a base for the artificial tooth. It is placed between the titanium or zirconia implant screw and the artificial tooth as a connector between the two.
Much like with the implant itself, the titanium alloys are the most common materials for abutments. However, other materials can also be used as an alternative.
These alternative materials for abutment include zirconia, cast gold, surgical grade stainless steel, or polyether ether ketone (PEEK). The materials an abutment can be made out of must be ones that can prevent bacteria from entering the gum.
The Artificial Tooth
And that brings us to the last part of the dental implant, the artificial tooth itself. The artificial tooth is the replacement for the missing tooth and it is the visible part of the implant.
Other terms for the artificial tooth are crowns or dentures. The most common material that these are made of is porcelain. Porcelain is the most common material here because it is durable, can match the color of the teeth nicely and it looks very natural.
The other common type of material for the crown is acrylic. Acrylic dentures cost less than porcelain ones. However, they also look very realistic. The downside is they are more brittle and may not hold up as well as porcelain ones.