Titanium bonds with bone
In the 1950's a Swedish orthopaedic surgeon (and later a Professor of Anatomy), Per Brånemark, discovered that the metal titanium would bond and integrate with bone in a process he called osseo-integration (osseo, meaning bone). This break-through discovery is the foundation of modern implant technology.
Titanium is more commonly associated with high tech applications, including space, aeronautics and high performance cars. In clinical applications titanium has the unique property of not being rejected by the body's natural defence mechanisms. Most implants are therefore made of titanium. There are four grades of commercially pure titanium with different physical properties. In most cases we use grade 4 as having a good balance between strength and fracture resistance. It is this combination of properties that makes titanium dental implants so versatile.
To aid the integration of the titanium implant (a small screw-threaded rod or cylinder) with the jaw bone some systems include surface treatment of the implant.
Implants can also be made from other materials including stainless steel, titanium alloys and, more recently, another metal - Zirconium. Although reported to have similar biocompatible properties there is not yet a settled view on the overall clinical merits of Zirconium.
We use only the finest materials
There are now many proprietary implant systems. We use only the finest brands and our preferred systems include Nobel Biocare (including their Brånemark system) and Astra Tech.
These systems offer a wide range of implants to suit different clinical situations. The choice of the right implant for you will be guided by our clinical assessment and experience.
An implant and the small key used to fit the implant into the bone
Most implants consist of three components
These precision engineered components are:-
(i) the rod or implant; the threaded precision-made titanium screw that fits into the jawbone. Implants can have either a tapered or parallel external screw thread ; they also have an internal thread to take the connector
(ii) the connector or abutment; this screws into the implant and has a post on which the crown fits. Abutments are available in a range of sizes and angles so that the dental surgeon can construct a replacement tooth that fits well geometrically next to the existing teeth
(iii) the crown; usually made of porcelain or ceramic and with a colour carefully matched to the patient's adjacent natural teeth
When fitted by skilled surgeons the implanted tooth will be indistinguishable from the patient's natural teeth. Indeed, in most cases it will be an improvement visually!
Implants require precision engineering and precision surgery
For those technically minded patients Guy Robertson would be delighted to discuss implant technology