|Titanium is a strong, lightweight, silver-gray metal that is found fairly commonly in igneous rocks and geological deposits. It has a number of impressive properties, including the ability to bind with human bone in a process called biointegration or osseointegration. Because of this, and the fact that the body will not reject it, this metal can be used for a number of medical and dental purposes. Hip and knee replacements, for example, often involve the use of a titanium implant.|
The unique properties of titanium make it especially suited to medical applications. It is very strong for its weight, virtually nonmagnetic, and totally compatible with the human body. This is highly noteworthy, because metallic elements are not found in very many places in the human body. Where metals exist, they are almost always there as parts of other molecules and complexes rather than in elemental form. Such is the case with iron, which bonds with oxygen in the bloodstream.
A titanium implant of the correct alloy will not corrode once inside the body, as an implant of any other metal would. It is one of the few materials that naturally meet every requirement for implantation in the human body.
A titanium implant for dental use will typically consist of a screw which resembles the root of a tooth and has either a smooth or roughened surface. The “root” is placed in the jawbone and the process of osseointegration is allowed to take place for several weeks or months. At the appropriate time, a crown is attached to the implant "root". Because the implant is already integrated, the new implant can be used immediately as if it were a natural tooth.
A little science , a little history:
The primary physical properties of titanium as a metallic chemical element include its non-magnetic property, low density, and tough strength-to-weight ratio. It was first discovered in England in 1791 by Reverend William Gregor, who was also a minerologist, who originally named the metal manaccanite after the parish of Mannaccan in Cornwall, England, where he discovered it. Titanium ore is common in the Earth's crust in minerals such as ilmenite or iron titanate, and rutile, more commonly known as titanium dioxide.
Chemical properties of titanium include its corrosion-resistant nature that makes it suitable for medical instruments, since it does not interact chemically with human tissues. The overwhelming bulk of titanium ore that is mined worldwide is converted into a pure form of TiO2, while the rest is alloyed with metals such as vanadium and aluminum for use in structural surfaces, where it weighs 40% less than carbon-strengthened steel.
Returning the Elegance of Nature's Design to the Mouth