Dental implants are the most complete prosthetic that your periodontist in Los Angeles can use to replace a missing tooth. Unlike dentures and dental bridges, a dental implant replaces the entire tooth all the way down to the root. This preserves the health of your jaw bone and allows you unmatched comfort while eating and talking. However, it is perfectly natural to have questions, so let’s take a few minutes to talk about what dental implants are made of per the American College of Prosthodontics.
Discussing Individual Parts
Although it is normal to use the term “dental implant” to refer to the complete structure, there are actually three separate parts.
- The Implant: Only the first one is technically the implant, and it is a metal rod that gets drilled into the jaw bone. This piece is not visible once the procedure is complete, as it is completely covered by the bone and gum tissue. This is also the piece that secures the rest of the structure.
- The Abutment: The second piece is called an abutment. This piece acts as a connector between the implant and the crown. It screws onto the top of the implant that’s visible prior to the placement of the crown and provides the ideal surface to lock the crown into place.
- The Crown: The crown is the last piece of your complete dental implant. This is the piece that imitates the part of the tooth that is visible above the gumline. To give the most realistic look, feel, and function, crowns are typically made out of porcelain.
A Closer Look at the Materials
The Implant and Abutment:
We have established that the implant and the abutment are metal; whereas, the crown is made out of porcelain. However, that still leaves a lot of room for interpretation, so let’s be specific. Your implant and abutment will both be made from a medical grade titanium alloy. It’s a strong material that is highly compatible with your own biology.
As a result, allergic responses to this titanium alloy are exceedingly rare. Less than 0.6% of the population has any level of reaction to medical grade titanium. The high likelihood of viability with a titanium alloy is important because your jawbone literally has to grow around the implant for it to be successful.
When it comes to your crown, there are a lot more options. You could have a crown made of metal, such as gold, but these crowns tend to be unpleasing to the eye. It is far more common today for crowns to be made out of porcelain or another ceramic material. These allow for the best possible color match and great durability. In that realm, there are many options including:
- All resin
- All ceramic
- Pressed ceramic
- Lithium disilicate ceramic
They vary in price, durability, and visual appearance, so you will want to discuss these options before you get your dental implants in Los Angeles.
Coming to a Decision
Currently, there isn’t a widely-used, viable alternative for the titanium alloy that dental implants and the matching abutments are made from. However, you do have a huge range of choices when it comes to your crown. Talk to your periodontist about your priorities. The most natural-looking crowns are still very durable, but they may require more care than a metal crown. Go through the pros and cons of each option with your periodontist to ensure that every part of your dental implant is customized to fit your needs perfectly.