The invention of titanium dental implants gave a new progressive pathway to the sciences of prosthetic and restorative dentistry. People used to ask a dental professional for teeth replacement like the ones they lost in the past. Now dental implants have made it quite possible to provide patients almost a prosthesis they want. In the past, innovative dental professionals tried to replace the root portion of the teeth but failed due to the natural foreign body rejection mechanism of the human body.Stainless steel was the first metallic substance used for making dental implants. Stainless steel and cobalt alloys were used and tried for this purpose but with poor success rates.
Years of research and experimentation resulted in the use of titanium for this purpose. Some important modifications were tried in titanium which made it possible to be used as the tooth root prosthesis within the human body. Titanium has the unique and beneficial property of making a strong connection between the healthy alveolar bone and the surface of modified titanium alloys in the form of dental implant prosthesis. These unique characteristics of titanium alloys dental implant is known as Osseo-integration.
The main properties of this ideal material used for dental implants
- It should be biocompatible and tissue friendly
- It must not be toxic to human tissues
- It should not cause adverse allergic reactions within the human body
- It must be able to osseointegrate with the alveolar bone
- It must have high ultimate strength and yield value
- It should have a low-density value
- It should have a low modulus of elasticity
- It should have an affordable cost
Due to its biocompatible nature, titanium alloys are preferred over stainless steel and cobalt alloys for their use as a dental implant manufacturing material. From this point of view, titanium occupies a dominant position among all the dental implants fabrication materials. Due to their higher strength property, titanium alloys are preferred over pure titanium for implant manufacturing.
Why are the titanium dental implants so used?
The properties of titanium alloys which make them the best dental implants fabrication materials are summarized as :
- It has high strength
- It has rigid nature
- It has low value of density providing a high strength and lightweight prosthesis
- Bio-compatible nature of these alloys
- It has the ability to withstand high temperature and intense heat
- It has the ability of resistance to corrosion due to its passivating effect
Titanium has a very reactive nature which causes it to passivate and form a layer of oxides on its surface. This acts as a protective coating on the surface and prevents corrosion occurrence.
Itanium and titanium alloys are used for both end-osseous and sub-periosteal dental implants.Previously titanium aluminum vanadium alloys were commonly used for making dental implants but then, toxic and harmful effects were observed and documented due to the release of aluminum and vanadium from these alloys after implant placements. To prevent the toxic effects of these released metals, aluminum and vanadium free titanium alloys have been formulated now. Beta titanium alloys are mostly used now for this purpose.
To summarize above all discussion, titanium is the most appropriate metallic biomaterial these days for the fabrication of dental implant prosthesis.