Dental implants are valued for how closely they mimic the look, fit and feel of natural teeth. And this realism extends to their functionality, as they restore the ability to speak, bite and chew.
But what about strength? Implant surgery is a safe and effective way to fill the gaps in your smile — but that isn’t enough without durability. After all, no one wants to invest in tooth replacement that won’t last.
When compared to real teeth, how strong are dental implants?
Dental Implants Are Made of Titanium
An implant has three parts — a screw-like post, an abutment and a ceramic crown.
The post is placed into the jawbone to function as a tooth root. The crown functions as a replacement tooth. The abutment is the connector piece that attaches the post to the crown.
Both the post and the abutment are made of titanium, one of the strongest metals known to man. This alloy is a staple of the medical field, as it resists corrosion and is capable of osseointegration, or joining with human bone. In addition, dental titanium is biocompatible, meaning the body is highly unlikely to reject the foreign material.
After implant surgery, the bone heals and fuses around the titanium post. The replacement tooth is just as strong as — or stronger than — the natural teeth, as it is solidly anchored in the bone.
Dental Implants Are Not Susceptible to Decay
Real teeth can — and often do — decay. Natural bacteria in the mouth combines with sugars in foods and drinks to create acids. These acids attack and weaken tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and cavities. Left untreated, decay can result in tooth loss.
Implants, on the other hand, are not vulnerable to tooth decay.
Acids in the mouth cannot eat away at the titanium posts and abutments or the ceramic crowns. So in this respect, implants may be considered more solid and durable than natural teeth.
Can Dental Implants Break?
Dental-grade titanium is made to be fracture-resistant. Consequently, it is rare for the posts or abutments to break.
However, ceramic crowns can break. The ceramic material used to fabricate dental crowns is strong, but no more so than a real tooth. Therefore, just as with natural teeth, excess force can cause the crown to chip or fracture. If this happens, it will need to be replaced.
To help prevent crowns from breaking, don’t use your teeth as tools. Neither your dental implants nor your natural teeth were designed to open bottles or tear through packaging. Chewing ice, biting fingernails and cracking nuts should also be avoided.
Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, the experienced oral surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, can answer all of your questions about implant surgery and alternative tooth replacement methods. Schedule an appointment at our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to learn whether dental implants are the best way to restore your beautiful smile.