24 Nov 2014

Titanium in Dental Implants

Titanium is widely associated with dental implants. It integrates with natural bone far better than most known metals, and also has the ideal light weight and toughness for the job. However, the strongest implant is not made from pure titanium, but from a titanium alloy.

The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) uses a five-point grading system for biomedical titanium. The highest of these is Grade 5, which is an alloy of titanium, aluminium, and vanadium. This is the most widely used material for medical implants, but not for dental implants because of the susceptibility of vanadium to salivary corrosion.

Most dentists in the U.K. offer dental implants made of Grade 4 titanium, which has 0.50 iron content, from companies like Nobel Biocare. It is considered commercially pure titanium, or CP-Ti, but offers a balance between fatigue resistance and material purity. It exhibits the most ideal yield, tensile, and fatigue strengths without exposing the body to potent metals.

Under a salivary environment, Grade 4 titanium will hold fast, lowering the risk of corrosion. It's not as resilient as Grade 5 titanium, but proper installation by a dentist ensures its longevity. For an implant to last, however, proper oral hygiene must also be observed. The titanium post will not succumb to rust, but it can loosen when the gum is diseased, or weakened from lack of care.


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