Titanium is a metal uniquely suited to pair with human bone and has been used to create dental implants since the 1960s. They were brought to North America by an orthopedic surgeon from Sweden who had over 20 years of experience and research in placing implants to restore cancer patients back into function.
Made of commercially pure titanium, the implants form an oxide layer when contracting air and actualy allow the bone to fuse into their surface. They are made of the same metals that are used in medicine to replace hips and knees. The surface of the implant is usually sandblasted or acid etched to make it rough and allow the bone to "grip" into the implant. There is usually a period of healing that is necessary for the bone to fuse into the implant. This amount of time is usually 3-6 months depending on the quality and blood supply of the bone.
In North America, we have research and experience since 1982. Approximately 2.5 million implants are placed worldwide every year. Titanium implants are very low in allergic response, even those who are sensitive to most metals. They do require good oral hygiene and the bite has to be correct to prevent excessive pressure, as implants do not move like natural teeth. A biteguard is suggested to dissipate severe grinding or clenching forces away from implants. Implants still need good oral hygiene and dentist professional maintenance and evaluation every 3-6 months.
Titanium implants can function for years, if not a lifetime, if placed correctly and maintained.