Tag Archives: titanium

More than Just a Pretty Smile: Dental Implants Improve Well Being

Ask a person their least favorite doctor and many will say ‘the dentist.’ It’s unfortunate that preventative dental checkups are often skipped or ignored altogether. Without proper care, teeth are prone to cavities, plaque, rot, and gum disease. Oral health has been shown to influence total body health and is extremely important.

Today’s dental technologies offer many new and exciting options for replacing teeth lost to disease, injury, or age. Medical devices designed exclusively for the dental industry are expected to increase as the market for dental implants and prosthetics grows. With the use of CAD/CAM technologies in dentistry, implants offer permanent solutions for replacing teeth.

The aging baby boomers are largely responsible for the increases in the dental implant and prosthetics market. Increased awareness of available options combined with rising disposable incomes are driving the development of new treatments in the dental industry. Traditional treatments include crowns, bridges, and dentures; newer implant technology is becoming more widely utilized.

With improvements in materials, manufacturing, and provider experience, dental implants are proving to be an excellent and more permanent choice among patients and practitioners. The benefits of implants over other types of restorations are many. To replace a missing tooth, an implant fills the space completely without modifications to the surrounding teeth. Implants consist of a titanium post implanted into the jawbone acting as the root of the new ‘tooth.’ A crown is attached to the post and the implant, once fully healed into the bone, should last a lifetime. According to the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the success rate of dental implants is extremely high (up to 98%).

A recent study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine studied the quality of life after treatment to replace missing teeth in women suffering from osteoporosis. Women who had received dental implants reported the highest level of satisfaction with their work and social lives. Dental implants offer many advantages over just appearance. They improve oral health, enable patients to continue to eat as they did before, do not cause speech impediments, and are comfortable in the mouth.

As a premier medical device manufacturer we know how important it is to produce quality implant materials that will provide a patient an excellent quality of life. In dentistry, the ability to replace teeth with seamless replacements hasn’t been possible in the past. With dental implants, all of that is changing and Hammill Medical stands at the forefront of expanding our quality implants.

Miraculous Materials in Medical Technology

For a long time, medical professionals have been attempting to replace organic parts of our bodies that have failed with fabricated substitutes, to varying degrees of success.  The famous example of George Washington’s famous wooden teeth (that it turns out weren’t actually wood) comes to mind, though thankfully technology has progressed beyond replacing bone with stone.  In modern times, advanced materials are used; specifically engineered, these materials are notable applications of a wealth of medical and material science knowledge.

Some materials that are used regularly here at Hammill are titanium, cobalt chrome, and PEEK; titanium and cobalt chrome are metals, whereas PEEK is a plastic.  Since Washington’s day, the medical community has established extremely strict procedures and standards for determining a material’s use for implants.  The most important of these qualifications is of course biocompatibility.  These three materials all have the unique characteristic of being biologically inert, so that the body does not reject them after the surgery.

Titanium is perhaps the most familiar, as it has long been used in many fields for its incredibly high strength to weight ratio, and biocompatibility.  Cobalt chrome is actually an alloy of the metals Cobalt and Chromium, and is another low-friction, biocompatible metal alloy often used in joint replacement.  Perhaps the most interesting, PEEK (or polyether ether ketone, to give it it’s proper name) is an engineered thermoplastic, one of the few polymeric FDA approved plastics on the market, and accordingly expensive.  There are others, such as UHMWPE, but study and practice are revealing that PEEK is preferred due to its low-wear, and strength.  For any material science gurus, check out this handy comparison chart.

It’s amazing to step back and appreciate the complexity and precision with which modern medicine routinely operates.  Medical technology is exploding at an incredible rate, and At Hammill Medical, we’re proud to be part of that fast-paced process of making lives better.