Gold Dental Implants
What is a gold tooth implant?
While most people doesn't prefer gold restorations because of their low esthetic appeal, others are specifically looking for a gold tooth.
Many dentists like gold, as it has a lot of great properties, however gold is just not suitable for dental implants. If you want to replace a missing tooth with gold tooth implant, it's not a gold implant that you'll get, but a titanium implant (maybe zirconia) with a gold crown.
So there is no such thing as gold dental implant, but you can still have a gold tooth with a titanium implant and a gold crown.
Structure of a dental implant restoration
The basic structure of an implant restoration has 3 components:
- The screw or implant: This part is placed inside the jaw bone surgically. It is an artificial root which holds the entire restoration in place, just like a natural root which holds the tooth. This part is not visible as it's inside your bone, beneath the gums. In radiographs, it can be clearly differentiated from natural roots as a radio-opaque component.
- The abutment: The abutment is fitted inside the screw. It does not penetrate the entire length of the screw but just a few millimeters to obtain a close grip and lock to stay in place. This actually serves the purpose of a prepared (trimmed) natural tooth to receive a crown on it. The abutment is partially inside the gums and the upper half is visible in the mouth. It is made of titanium or zirconia.
- The crown or bridge: The crown is placed on the abutment just like we place on the natural tooth. Once the restoration is finished, only the crown will be visible. Crowns can be ceramic or metal, like gold.
When a missing tooth is replaced with gold, only the third component is actually gold, the implant and the abutment is not.
Why gold is not suitable for dental implants?
Most dentists prefer gold for restorations as gold has excellent corrosion resistance and high biocompatibility (small chance of allergic reactions), fits perfecly and lasts long. However there are a few more criteria that prevents gold from being used to manufacture implants.
Tooth implants are placed inside the jaw bone and left in place, to allow the bone to adapt to the surface of the implant. This process is called as osseointegration. This takes a period of 4-6 months depending upon the density and the quality of the bone.
Osseointegration is the most important thing required for clinical success of a dental implant. Failure of it, leads to poor anchorage that causes loosening of the implant and implant failure.
Gold does not show osseointegration to the extent required for the clinical success of the implant.
Toughness is another important property of dental implants.
The implant has to whitstand masticatory load (stresses generated while chewing) so that the restoration (crown or bridge) stays firmly in its place.
Compared to other materials used in implants, gold is softer. Even though gold can be alloyed with other metals, like copper, which increases its strength, it still does not meet the required toughness for implants.
Despite of the many other properties of gold that are favorable - like higher compatibility, smaller chances of reaction and toxicity, corrosion resistance etc. -, the problems with osseointegration and toughness prevent gold from being used for dental implants.
What materials are used for dental implants?
Metal: Titanium and titanium alloys (with aluminum and vanadium) are most commonly used among the metals. They have excellent biocompatibility and resonates well with living tissues in the body. Titanium implants are surface treated to achieve more stable and favorable results. The surface treatment with sand blasting and acid etching has greatly increased the clinical success rates of titanium implants.
Ceramic: Ceramics is now used widely under clinical practice and the trend is progressively increasing now with time. Most commonly used ceramic is zirconia (zirconium dioxide). The main reason is its structural modification which makes it resistant to crack propagation, this improves the success rates of this material. Also, it is a metal free material, a crystalline substance which can be used in the patients who are allergic to the metals.
Polymer: This group contains composite materials. They are not used often as implants but they are widely used as a restorative material and also for making artificial crowns.
Types of gold crowns
Full coverage gold crown: They can be from pure gold or gold alloys. Gold alloys are preferred to improve the strength and the properties of the metal and also to make it economical. The wax build up is made on the cast which is then casted with gold. The casted gold crown is polished and finished. The crown is adjusted to obtain a close fit and proper teeth contacts on closure and on functional movements. It is then cemented to the tooth or the implant abutment.
Porcelain fused to gold (PFG): Porcelain fused to gold is like conventional porcelain fused to metal (PFM). Only the metal portion used here is gold.
Partial crowns: This includes three forth crowns, reverse three forth crowns etc. This can be prepared from pure gold or gold alloys like full coverage gold crowns.
How much does a permanent tooth with a gold crown cost?
A typical single tooth replacement with dental implants costs around $3,000 and $5,000.
When you are getting gold tooth, you are paying for a traditional dental implant (probably titanium) and a gold dental crown. Since gold crowns are relatively expensive, costs might be closer to the higher end.
Cost varies depending upon the rate of gold and also on its purity, your dentist fees, any additional treatments you might need.
Other Dental Implant Brands
Are you interested in other dental implant types, too?
Find out more information about the following brands:
- Alpha-Bio Tec - an affordable brand
- AB dental implant - another affordable teeth implant brand
- Ankylos - more expensive than Alpha Bio or AB, high quality, a great value for money
- Biomet 3i - special surface for excellent bonding
- Osseo Dental - distributes mini dental implants, mainly in Australia
- Nobel implants - well respected brand, very high quality, expensive
- Straumann implants - a great brand, like Nobel
- Zimmer Dental - offers a wide range of choices
- Same Day Dental Implants - faster healing time, higher chance of dental implant failure
- All-on-four dental implants are the ideal solution for those who have lost all of their upper and/or lower teeth