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Dental implants: How to chose an implant: the general indications

When one decides to replace a missing tooth with an implant he must also chose among the various surgical procedures and the different kinds of dental implants. Thus, it is necessary to spread some light on the new techniques available.

The materials

To begin with, one must know that dental implants have been manufactured in different materials. Metals such as steel, gold alloys, different kinds of titanium and ceramics. Today the first rate material is titanium. According to various studies, titanium  is the most accepted by the organism. It establishes a strong and stable link with bone and gum cells.

The shapes

Instead, there are different shapes available for the new roots. Historically, small needles, grates, plates, screws and cylinders were employed. Currently the most used shape is definitely the screw. Various calibres are available, ranging from 3 to 6 mm, and different lengths, ranging from 6 to 20 mm, according to the bone available and to the width of the tooth that needs replacement. Various researchers maintain that the longer the new titanium root, the more stable it will be, and capable of supporting masticatory loads. Others instead, show that the results are identical once the 12 mm of length have been reached: the same implant success, the same absence of complications. The surgeon, after a thorough exam of the patient, must propose his choice.

Smooth or rough?

In any case, the external wall of the dental implant comes into contact with the bone and interacts with it. Implants with both smooth and rough surfaces are used. The latter mentioned is obtained by chemical and physical treatments of the metal, or by ceramic coating. As a matter of fact, a coarse surface interacts better with the bone, it wedges in with more strength thus facilitating implant fixation. However beware. The rough surface presents certain counter-indications. Due to its coarse surface it better collects bacteria thus making it more difficult to clean it and avoid infections. Thus the choice must consider both factors. Therefore, it is best to trust the experience and advice of a qualified dentist.

last update: 21 January 2008

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