, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 3801-3811

Titanium: The implant material of today

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Abstract

The use of metals for the replacement of structural components of the human body has been with us for some considerable time. The metals originally used were stainless steels which have gradually been replaced by cobalt-chromium alloys. Although titanium has been used since the late forties, it is only relatively recently that it has gained widespread interest. Titanium and its alloys are being used more and more in preference to the cobalt-chromium alloys and has broadened the field of applications. The features which make titanium such an interesting material are its excellent corrosion resistance in the biological environment, combined with an exception degree of biocompatibility which it shares with only a handful of other materials. In this review the background to the clinical use of titanium is discussed with particular attention to the biological aspects of the material. While there are now many clinical uses for titanium and its alloys their main areas of application are in the field of dentistry and orthopaedics and these are described in some detail.