- Gold teeth implants offer a trendy, durable, and biocompatible alternative to standard porcelain.
- Unlike grills or crowns that are worn over the teeth, gold implants are meant to permanently replace teeth that are missing.
- Costs vary depending on the type of implant, the amount of gold used, and the dentist’s treatment fees.
Gold has a solid track record in the fields of cosmetic dentistry and dental surgery. The ancient Egyptians held partial dentures in place with golden wires. In the late Renaissance period, gold leaves were used to fill cavities.
In more recent years, the use of gold to enhance smiles has increased in popularity thanks to status-conscious celebrities such as Nelly, Madonna, and Lil’ Wayne.
If you’re thinking of replacing a missing tooth with a gold implant, here are few things you need to know beforehand.
How do gold teeth implants work?
A dental implant is designed to mimic the structure of the tooth and its placement within the jawbone. Golden implants work much like traditional implants, except the visible portion of the tooth is made of gold.
“A dental implant is simply a screw-like fixture that is placed into the jawbone in order to replace a missing tooth,” says Dr. Idan Snapir, DDS of Van Nuys, CA. “The implant replaces the root portion of the natural tooth structure. A connecting screw and a final crown are then set in place to replace the lost tooth.”
There are two main types of implants, depending on the number of teeth that need to be replaced:
- Endosteal implants, which are surgically placed in the jawbone — these are the most common implants.
- Subperiosteal implants, which consist of a metal frame fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue.
If your jawbone is not able to support dental implants, various techniques can be used to strengthen it and provide a foundation for the implants.
Are gold teeth implants 100% pure gold?
In short, no — there is no such thing as a solid gold tooth implant.
The root portion of the tooth acts as its foundation and connection to the jaw. During dental implant surgery, it is replaced by a prosthetic screw made of titanium and placed in the jaw. This allows it to hold the tooth in place.
The golden part of the implant is the crown — the visible portion of the tooth. Since gold by itself is too soft to withstand chewing, other materials are used to strengthen it — generally copper, platinum, zinc, or silver. In most cases, gold implants are actually made of a 20—70% gold alloy.
How much does a gold tooth implant cost?
Online dealers sell both permanent and removable types of gold teeth. These dealers work directly with dentists to provide gold teeth based on your specifications, be it diamond-studded or gold overlay.
Prices vary based on the size of the replacement tooth, the karat of gold used to make the crown, your location, and the dentist’s treatment fees. Gold prices also tend to fluctuate quite a bit.
The total cost can be broken down as follows:
- Implant-to-jawbone procedure — $1,500-$2,000
- Abutment piece (screw) — $225-$400
- Gold crown — $1,000-$1,200
Are there any risks or side effects?
Complications can occur with any form of dental implant, whether it’s made of gold, porcelain, or another material.
“Infections are possible if proper care is not taken to clean around the implant, gum, and bone,” says New York City cosmetic dentist Dr. Robert C. Rawdin, DDS, FACP.
The only instance where gold may be harmful is when other types of metal, such as mercury amalgam and silver fillings, are present in the mouth. Under these conditions, certain undesirable sensations may occur on a recurring basis, including:
- Increased saliva secretions
- A salty or metallic taste
- Burning or tingling of the tongue
Gold is a remarkably durable material. “If the implants are properly planned and placed in good bone, they can last a lifetime,” says Dr. Rawdin.
Gold also has certain antibacterial properties. Compared to other implant materials, such as titanium, cobalt, and vanadium, it ranks highest in its ability to counteract bacterial growth.
The bottom line
Gold is used for a number of dental prostheses, such as bridges, onlays, inlays, and cores. It has a long life cycle, is durable, and isn’t known to cause any adverse health effects. While its higher cost and color make it a less desirable material for some dental patients, others are attracted to it for those same reasons.
Dr. Snapir puts it this way: “Gold used to be the material of choice, but it isn’t used as much anymore. Instead, most patients now choose ceramic materials such as porcelain, emax, and zirconia.”
Still, to each his own. In some social circles, gold teeth are the way to go.
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