The human body is full of tiny imperfections. Your arms are very slightly different lengths, your face isn’t perfectly symmetrical, and most people can find at least one reason to complain about their body every day. However, a dental implant can be better than the original tooth, at least in a few important ways. Implant crowns don’t get cavities, they’re slightly stronger than normal teeth, and they keep the bone arch beneath them from shrinking the way it would if you only used dentures.
Still, there are some dental implants problems, but an imperfect dental implant can be an advantage in the long run. For instance, a standard dental implant screw uses titanium because titanium can osseointegrate. This means the living cells in your bone tissue will attach themselves to the titanium and make it impossible to remove without breaking some bone in the process. That’s a good thing because a dental implant is supposed to be permanent.
However, the smoothness of a titanium screw can get in the way of osseointegration. The surface area of a smooth surface doesn’t give bone cells many places to attach themselves. That’s why modern implants etch the screw’s surface to create microscopic ridges and bumps: the etching gives the screw much more surface area, so the implant stabilizes faster and has a stronger connection to surrounding bone.
Still, not every imperfection is a good thing. Today’s dental implants problems include tiny amounts of contamination, particles of acid or sand that get left behind by the etching process. These particles aren’t big enough to be a danger to the person who gets the implant, but it can end up creating a small barrier that gets in the way of osseointegration.
That’s why some scientists are looking at lasers as a new way to etch titanium screws. Lasers can be precise enough to create the microscopic ridges that bone cells rely on, and they don’t leave any kind of contamination behind. As far as dental implants problems go, lasers could be a safe and efficient alternative to sandblasting and acid etching.
Imperfection has its place in other aspects of dental implants, like how an off-white color blends better with natural teeth and how most patients prefer implants that mimic their real teeth rather than ones that look better than the originals. Either way, whether it’s the screw or the crown, an imperfect dental implant is exactly what your body needs.
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