What are dental implants made from?

Dental implants are artificial teeth which replace your missing natural teeth. Unlike fillings and crowns which only replace a portion of your tooth, dental implants replace your entire tooth. It’s natural to wonder what material dental implants are made from. After all, dental implants are placed into your jaw bone so it’s important to know what material are used in making dental implants. Our natural teeth are made from biological structures such as dentin, enamel, nerve canals and blood vessels. On the other hand, dental implants are completely artificial teeth. Each dental implant is made from three distinct parts, which are: implant post, abutment and implant crown. Here is what you need to know about the material used to make each dental implant part:

What are implant posts made from?

Titanium implant post versus zirconia implant post

Implant post is the part of dental implant which sits inside of your jaw bone. Naturally, most people want to know what kind of material is being inserted into their bones. There are two common material of choice used to make dental implant posts, which are:

Titanium dental implant posts

Titanium is the most common material used to make dental implant posts as well as other bio-compatible body parts. This is because titanium is sturdy, light-weight and biologically inert. In other words, titanium does not cause allergies and can handle your bite forces without easily fracturing. This makes titanium an excellent choice for replacing your missing teeth. In fact, titanium is also used for hip and knee replacement grafts which tells you just how reliable titanium is as a material of choice for replacing your missing teeth.

Zirconia dental implant posts

If you’re looking for a metal-free tooth replacement option then ceramic implant posts are your answer. Ceramic implant posts are made from zirconia which is metal-free. In addition to being metal-free, ceramic implant posts are hypoallergenic and nearly as durable as their titanium counterpart. Note that ceramic implant posts are much more expensive than titanium ones. This is mostly due to the fact that the technology is newer and only a few implant companies are currently designing ceramic implant posts. However, if you have autoimmune conditions, metal allergies or an aversion to metal use, then zirconia implants are a good treatment option for you.

What are implant abutments made from?

Examples of metal and ceramic abutments

Abutment is connects your implant post and implant crown to one another. Typically, abutments are made from either metal, gold, ceramic or a combination thereof. Most people care little about the abutment material as it is neither visible nor does it sit inside your jaw bone. The majority of dental implant cases are treated with stock metal-based abutments. However, if your tooth is in a visible region, like a front tooth, it might not be a bad idea to consider upgrading to a ceramic abutment instead of a metal one. Ceramic abutments are white and natural-looking to better match your tooth color. This is especially useful in the anterior region just in case your abutment ends up becoming visible inside of your mouth.

What are dental implant crowns made from?

Implant crown is the visible portion of your dental implant which replaces the missing tooth itself. In terms of material, implant crowns are similar to any other dental crown. Typically, dental implant crowns are made from either porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic. Gold crowns can also be used although they are not as common these days.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal implant crown

Example of a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, or PFM for short, consist of an inner metal layer and an outer porcelain layer. The metal provides chewing strength whereas porcelain provides a natural looking tooth-colored appearance. PFM crowns work quite well in most cases as they are both strong and natural-looking. However, PFM crowns are not as strong and natural-looking as ceramic crowns and may not always be your best option.

Ceramic implant crown

Ceramic is much stronger than porcelain which mean it does not fracture as easily. Subsequently, ceramic crowns are one piece and do not require any metal on the inside the way that PFM crowns do. This means that ceramic crowns look more realistic and are less likely to crack or chip as compared to PFM crowns. It is recommended to upgrade to ceramic crowns whenever restoring highly aesthetic teeth. Also, when there is a heavy bite present or orthodontic issues (such as a crossbite), there is an increased chance of crown fracture. It’s best to upgrade to ceramic crowns in these cases. Finally, ceramic crowns are metal-free and a better treatment option for those seeking a holistic dentistry approach.

Which material is the best for dental implants?

Metal abutment is showing. A simple upgrade to ceramic abutment would have prevented this complication from occurring.

When it comes to dental implants, technique and experience is far more important than the implant material or brand. Implant material is only a part of the equation. Implant brand, design, thread count, diameter, etc. all factor into the final outcome. For example, you may have heard of terms such as cement-retained or screw-retained implant crowns. These terms are no longer a reference to the crown material but rather to the design of the crown itself. Cement-retained crowns are directly cemented onto your abutment whereas screw-retained crowns are screwed onto your implant post as a single piece conjoined with your abutment.

Each type of crown has its own implication and your dentist will work with you to determine which type of implant, abutment and crown is best for your needs. Factors such as your medical history, aesthetic concern, bite forces, etc. all need to be taken into consideration when designing your implant treatment. Your doctor will help you decide which material and design is best suited for your implant treatment. To learn more about different dental implant treatment options call us at (949)481-2540 or send us your dental implant questions online.

Getting started with dental implants in San Clemente, Orange County

You can replace from 1 tooth to all of your teeth with dental implants.

If you’re looking for dental implant treatment in Orange County we recommend you contact our dental office. At Oceansight Dental & Implants we offer our patients a wide variety of dental implant treatment options. We can help you restore your smile with dental implants whether you are missing one tooth or all of your teeth. Plus, we offer all different types of dental implants, including titanium or ceramic implant posts, metal or ceramic abutments, screw-retained crowns, full mouth dental implants and all-on-four teeth among other treatments.

To get started with your new smile, call us today at (949)481-2540 or schedule your implant consult online. Come visit us in our San Clemente, CA dental office today to see if you’re a candidate for dental implants. Dr. Jazayeri will help you decide how many implants you need and which material is best suited for restoring your missing teeth. Don’t wait any longer, missing teeth cause lots of problems such as bite issues, bone atrophy, shifting of remaining teeth and increased cavity and bone loss within the missing gaps. In fact, one missing tooth can lead up to multiple tooth loss if left untreated. Contact us today at (949) 481-2540 to schedule your dental implant consultation and get started on your new smile.


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