Dental implants are often composed of titanium. As such, one might ask, “Do implants rust?” You’d expect a simple yes or no answer from a question like that. The fact is that the answer is a bit more complicated and merits some explanation
What Is Rust?
Put simply, rust is hydrated iron, that is, the reaction iron has to the combination of water and oxygen. By this definition the answer is obviously “no” – dental implant screws do not rust as they are not made of iron. Titanium can oxidize, but unlike iron, this oxidization makes a protective layer preventing corrosion even to acids.
Are There Any Titanium Dental Implant Concerns?
Titanium is remarkably corrosion resistant, but nothing is completely foolproof. One instance in which titanium can become compromised is if it comes in contact with other prosthetic pieces that are made of a different material. The difference in the metals could make an electrical current flow between them, which could cause galvanic corrosion. This can be avoided by carefully picking the implants, making sure no other metal will be in constant contact with the titanium, and choosing the right professionals for your oral maintenance.
Stress and Pit Corrosion
Other dental implant problems include stress and pit corrosion. The human jaw can exert pressures of 200 pounds per square inch. As you can imagine, this is quite a force which causes considerable stress on dental implants. Chewing cycles repeatedly press teeth against each other, affecting not only the outer parts, but the roots and bone as well. When you consider how often we put teeth through such a grind, you might be inclined to think that this is the most common type of corrosion but, it actually comes in second to galvanic corrosion.
The idea that a dental implant screw would rust is enough to scare anyone, but when you look at implants with a bit of perspective, all those fears fade away. Titanium has been used not only in dental implants, but in countless prosthetics in just about every part of the body and all over the world. Titanium has an outstanding track record. Unless you have a strong allergy to titanium the only thing you should worry about is the experience and success rate of your doctor. Dental implant failure can occur, which is why we cannot stress this point enough when choosing a dental practice make sure you go with the best.
By now you should feel secure that titanium is the best metal for the job, but if you still have doubts or if you have an allergy to metals there is an alternative. There are metal-free dental implants made of zirconia which can be a suitable choice.
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