The Science Behind Dental Implants
Dental implants have become the most desired replacement for lost teeth. While fake teeth and implants are not new, they are better and more effective than ever before. As science has improved, so have the options available to patients.
The Evolution of Implants
Back in the frontier days, people occasionally would try using a piece of wood to replace a missing tooth or fashioned dentures from this material. The most popular historical figure to have fake teeth is George Washington. While many believe his fake teeth were made of wood, they were made out of ivory to mimic natural human teeth.
In more modern attempts at tooth implants, vitreous carbon showed a lot of promise when it fused well to the jaw bone. Issues arose from its use though, including its tendency to become brittle and unable to withstand biting and chewing. Eventually titanium was tried because it is an affordable, predictable option, but pure titanium proved too soft for use too.
The most commonly used materials for modern dental implants are titanium alloys. Having a mixture of elements allows the implant to withstand the daily rigors of tooth functions. Titanium is also well known in the medical field for fusing to bone naturally, which makes it ideal in the mouth. It takes a few months, but after the healing process is complete, the titanium alloy completely fuses to the jaw bone and is just as strong as a natural tooth root.
After the bone fuses to the screw, a crown, bridge, or denture is attached. These are made in a dental lab and from different materials, including
- Metal alloys
- Stainless steel
- Porcelain fused to metal
To produce a crown, impressions are taken of the patient’s mouth in our office and then sent to the lab. The technician will create a mold based off the impression to fit in the empty spot. The impressions are taken of your surrounding teeth so that the technician can shape it to fit with the upper or lower tooth as well as fit nicely between remaining teeth. If multiple teeth are being replaced with a bridge or denture implant, the impressions are usually bigger and then used to create molds.
To make the crowns, molds are filled with the selected material. Metals are melted at high temperatures and poured into the mold while still liquid. Porcelain is already in a liquid-state, so it is poured into the mold without manipulating the temperature. The crowns are all kept in their ideal temperature ranges to cure and harden. Finishing coats are applied to make the coloring and shine appealing and then shipped back to the dental office.
Once we receive the crown in our office, we keep it stored until your implant screw has healed completely. The crown is attached screwed on or cemented in and the process is complete. Implants are permanently placed and crafted to look like a natural tooth, so no one knows it is fake but you.