White dental implants: the world of artificial teeth

White dental implants: the world of artificial teeth
© iStock/Nastasic

New technology will soon enable the surface of titanium used for artificial teeth to be completely white, therefore introducing a new era of white dental implants.

Each year, roughly ten million artificial teeth are inserted world-wide, a growing number since the world’s population continues to live longer and more people are increasingly wearing down their teeth. Typically, a metal shine can occur through the gum of an individual with dental implants, creating a visual challenge. However, researchers have now developed a solution offering white dental implants.

What do you know about artificial teeth?

Traditionally, dental implants are made from titanium, a highly biocompatible material, meaning that it can easily become integrated into existing jaw bones. On top of the implant, a connector is deposited before the actual dental crown is constructed.

“Until now, this connector has posed an aesthetic challenge,” explains Ole Zoffmann Andersen, Research Manager at Elos Medtech, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of dental implant components.

“The reason is that can result in a metallic shine through the gum, and should the gum retract, the metal part may become directly visible. Of course, many people with dental implants dislike having to live with this.”

Elos Medtech operates both development and production facilities in Northern Zealand and has initiated a new project in collaboration with researchers from DTU and Aarhus University, Denmark, to tackle this aesthetic challenge.

Creating white dental implants

During laboratory studies, a DTU research group was able to whiten the surface of titanium. The next step is to develop a surface so robust and durable that the whitening does not peel off, and also complies with the many medical requirements.

Morten Jellesen, Senior Researcher at DTU Mechanical Engineering adds: “We don’t yet know whether the strongest whitened titanium surface is created using one or the other process, or perhaps a mixture of both. This project is designed to determine that. Our team gathers strong expertise within surface treatment, so I’m convinced that we will achieve an excellent result.”

The Elos Medtech company is looking forward to being able to provide an aesthetically pleasing product in future to alleviate one of the major issues affecting dental implants.

“We realize that this project has set an ambitious goal. However, we believe that we will succeed in developing a robust technology to whiten dental implant titanium while complying with the regulatory requirements to be met before we’re allowed to sell the implants to our major customers in the world market.” Concludes Zoffmann.

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