Many years ago seashells were placed into the jaws to replace missing teeth. Those seashells were most likely the first in dental implants. Today titanium tooth implants fill the gap nicely and usually the patients jaw bone is bonded to them.
In the middle of 20th century, it was discovered that the titanium is a metal that bonds to the bone. It revolutionized restorative dentistry making tooth implants possible. To make these implants they start with solid titanium rod. The 4m rod is used to make more than 200 implants. The technician inserts the rod in a long tubular device which keeps it straight as it feeds it to a lathe system. The titanium rods spin as computerized tools slim it down and cut threads into it. These threads will help implant anchor in the patients jaw. The lathe pushed the rod out and then pulls it back in repeatedly to facilitate the shaping process. A tool now grips the implant while another cuts it to delink. Then a computerized drill hollows out the implant and carves threads inside for attaching the ceramic tooth. In minutes, solid metal cylinder becomes hollowed and threaded implant. A robot now retrieves the implant from the clutches of another one. It transfer it to a cleaning station and over to a vision measuring system. Here, a camera takes pictures of the implant from all angles and sends the images to a computer for analysis. The computer confirms the dimensions are exactly right then the robot collects the implant and place sit into a slot into a tray. Once filled with implant a technician cruise a mesh lid on the tray and slides it into a metal basket. The basket positions them for cleaning in a special washing machine known as a vapour degreaser. Inside solvent vapour envelopes the part to clean off residual lubricant oil used during the cutting process.
A robot transfers the implant to a holding device. The device secures the implant for the next robot to press the plastic collar onto it. This collar is temporary. It will serve as mask to protect the outside of the implant. As the top undergoes the process called Collarization, a robot places the implant upside down in a mild acid. They apply an electric charge. Different colours will appear at different voltages to colour code the part that indicate the diameter. The process is called anodising. A robot now pulls off the masking collar. It transfers the implant to another tray and screws them onto it. This keeps them from falling off as machine returns the tray upside down to immerse the implants in a acid and anodize the exterior. This time the anodising serves another purpose. It changes the surface to make it more porous. This will improve the bonding of the patients jaw bone to the implant. The implant sparkles into the solution as it undergoes this transformation. Here’s the new porous surface is created. Robot transfers the dental implant to another tray. They are now ready for the final cleaning. A technician puts a lid on the tray and lowers it into a tank full of hot purified water. A generator sends high frequency sound waves into the water creating bubbles and waves that gently scrubs’ the implants.
After sterilization these titanium implants are ready to take route in human jaws. The dentist screws the implant into the patient jaw bone and then secures a ceramic tooth on to it. Over time, the bone fuses to this artificial tooth providing a long-lasting tooth replacement and giving the patient a reason to smile.