What is a dental implant?

You will have heard many times about dental implants, but it is not usually explained well what they consist of or what material they are made of. If you stay with me, this article will clear up some of those doubts.

One way of defining an implant would be the "metal screw" that replaces the root of the lost or non-existent tooth, and which allows us to place a crown on it that will allow us to recover the tooth. 

Thanks to the biological anchorage of one or more implants, we can replace lost teeth with a prosthesis, and recover both the functional aspects of the teeth and the desired aesthetics.

What material are the implants made of?

Only a few materials allow for an intimate and stable bonding of the implant to the bone, which is technically called osseointegration.

The implant market is booming, new companies and new products are appearing all the time, and this is logical, as it is the treatment of choice for replacing missing teeth. You will hear about materials (titanium, zirconium, tantalum), connections (Morse taper, internal, external), surfaces (polished, sandblasted, hydroxyapatite)...

Look for a good professional, he will know how to advise you!

In summary, we can say that the most studied implants with the most scientific evidence are Grade 4 titanium implants. It is a non-magnetic, biocompatible metal, highly resistant to corrosion and withstands high pressures. Because of these qualities, it is ideal for the construction of surgical and dental implants subjected to high mechanical and biological demands, and in fact, it is the same material used in other prostheses in the rest of the body, such as the hip.

What are the parts of an implant?

We usually call the whole assembly an implant but, in reality, the implant is only the part that is inside the bone. An "implant" is made up of:

  • Titanium implant or screw: is the part that is in contact with the bone and replaces the root of a missing or lost tooth.
  • Pillar or attachment: is the link between the implant and the prosthesis. It cushions and transmits the forces that the implant receives, and it is a fundamental part of the implant's long-term stability and function.
  • Prostheses: the prosthesis is the external part, the part that we would see with the naked eye. By prosthesis we can refer to an aesthetic porcelain cover, a bridge (several covers joined together) or a complete prosthesis like the conventional ones, but which are firmly anchored to the implants, making chewing much more comfortable.

How do teeth differ from dental implants?

The main differences are that it is an inert element, with the advantage of not suffering from caries. On the other hand, they lack some structures that allow them to protect and warn the organism, these are:

  • Periodontal ligament: It connects the bone to the tooth and allows it to cushion the forces and give it possibilities of movement, for example during orthodontics.
  • Pulp or neurovascular system: are the nerves and blood vessels that give vitality and flexibility to the tooth. At the same time, they also warn of different stimuli such as heat or cold.
  • Gum: The implants are enclosed in the gum, like teeth, but there is no intimate bond between the gum and the implant. It is very important that the implants are kept clean and the gum is not inflamed. In this way, we will avoid peri-implantitis, which is the contamination and infection of the bone that holds the implant, and which can lead to the loss of our implants.

We hope we have cleared up any doubts you may have had about dental implants. If you still have any questions, please feel free to use the comments section and I will be happy to answer them.