It’s a dream most of us have, but few will get to enjoy: the sheer thrill of owning a supercar. And although most of us are familiar with Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and McLaren, there’s one supercar maker that you’ve probably never heard of before last year: Icona. That’s because Icona isn’t really a carmaker, it’s an Italian design and engineering firm that wanted to showcase their strength by doing something that had never been done before: creating the world’s first titanium car, the Icona Vulcano. But will this supercar create a new line of demand that will push titanium prices through the roof and increase the cost of dental implants?
Although there are several good reasons why people are concerned about the possibility of rising titanium prices that can affect dental implants, the truth is that any titanium shortage is very unlikely.
A Piece of Art
Perhaps most importantly, the Icona Vulcano is not a production piece. There is no intent to make even a second one of these cars, let alone put them on the assembly line. It’s as much as anything a piece of art, designed to call attention to what can be done with a completely open mind about materials and design, showing what happens when a company opens the throttle on their imaginations and lets themselves build a $3 million car, which is almost as beautiful as dental implants.
But what if other automobile companies see the Vulcano and become inspired to create a similarly fabulous vehicle? It’s unlikely that another company will choose to put a titanium car into production, not because titanium is expensive (more on this later), but because it’s hard to work. The Vulcano got its name partly because the titanium parts had to be worked in a special vacuum chamber so they wouldn’t explode like a volcano. Although there are some minor parts where titanium can be employed with relative ease, it’s unlikely that a large-scale manufacturer will decide to work with titanium, when aluminum is so easily obtained and worked, offering comparable benefits in weight and strength (at least, from the standpoint of most production cars).
Will Russia Choke Our Supply?
But what if Russia decides to stop selling us titanium? some people worry. After all, Russia produces 17% of the world’s titanium, including 40% of the world’s aircraft titanium. Since the US imports about 70% of the titanium we use, people are afraid that a potential conflict with Russia could cause a titanium shortfall, which would skyrocket prices.
Although this is a potential concern, it’s not as big as it’s made out to be, partly because there are many supplies for titanium. The US actually produces 9% of the world’s titanium domestically, and our close ally Japan produces 22%. But also it’s important to remember that even at the height of the Cold War, the US was able to obtain titanium for the SR-71 Blackbird — a plane designed to spy on the Soviet Union — from the Soviet Union.
But What about Escalating Demand for Implants?
It’s true that demand for dental implants is skyrocketing due to the numerous benefits they offer. Annual growth in dental implant demand had been growing by double-digits before the Great Recession. Although demand tapered, it’s regaining, and it’s expected to grow by 7-10% per year through 2020.
But this escalating demand is unlikely to cause a dramatic impact on titanium prices. Mostly because 95% of titanium used in this country is used for titanium dioxide, used in white paint and dye. The other 5% is used for all other applications, including airplane parts and dental implants.
And the world titanium supply is actually great right now. Too good, in fact, as titanium prices continue to hover around their lowest price ever. Even significant growth of dental implants won’t make much of a change in that price.
And if titanium prices do increase, there are new alternatives for dental implant materials that might be used, including ceramics and alloys.
Dental Implant Costs Are Stable
So if you’re considering buying a titanium supercar, you can do so in clean conscience knowing that you’re not going to drive up the cost of dental implants. Of course, if you’re prepared to buy a titanium supercar, it’s likely that the cost of dental implants don’t worry you. It’s quality that catches your eye.
If you’re looking for quality dental implants and high end dentures, please call (843) 706-2999 today for an appointment with an implant dentist in the Hilton Head area at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.