All Dental Implants Are Not Created Equal

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Although many types of dental implants have been used to replace missing teeth, including blade, subperiosteal and staple implants, the majority of implants used for tooth replacement in the modern era of implant dentistry (over the past 20 years) are root form osseointegrated implants, most commonly made of titanium. Among the root form osseointegrated implants, there are significant differences, including:

  • Implant design elements — implant shape, thread pattern, presence or absence of a machined surfaced implant collar, type and location of abutment connection, superior or central shifting of micro-gap, and presence of macroscopic grooves on the implant body to encourage greater bone anchorage.
  • Implant surface characteristics (microtopograhpy) and surface chemistry, which both influence the rate and percentage of osseointegration measured as bone to implant contact (BIC).
  • Stability of bone to implant anchorage under functional loading.
  •  Scientific documentation to support the product, company replacement warranties, and cost.

Because there has been a rapid evolution as a result of extensive research and development commitments made by the major implant manufacturers, clinicians and patients need to educate themselves about the current technology available to them and how to avoid selecting an outdated technology—or even worse, an implant sold on the “Black Market” that may have been manufactured by a company that is no longer in business. In this article, I review a little history, talk about the latest advancements, and make some recommendations.

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