Are Zirconium Implants Really Better Than Titanium?

Titanium is the material of choice for many dentists and oral surgeons that do dental implants. However, it's not the only kind available. There has been quite a bit of talk lately about zirconium dental implants that has many people wondering if it is a better option than titanium. Here's more information about using zirconium for implants to help you decide if it's the best option for you.

What are Zirconium Implants?

Zirconium is a special type of ceramic that has been used for years to create implants for other parts of the body such as the hips. However, it wasn't until recently that the US Food and Drug Administration began approving dental implants made with zirconium for use in the general population.

Zirconium has about the same biocompatibility as titanium, which means it will integrate into the jaw bone without causing inflammation or being rejected by the body. One study found the success rate of implants using this material to be between 92 and 97 percent depending on whether the surface of the implant was smooth or rough.

There are a few benefits to using zirconium over titanium posts for dental implants, with the primary one being the color. With titanium implants, the dark grey color can sometimes bleed through the crowns, leading to unsightly dark spots on teeth. This is not the case with zirconium. The zirconium implants are a creamy to white color to match the color of the crown. Even if the gums recede because of age or disease, the implant will continue to blend in with the rest of the teeth.

Another major benefit is that zirconium implants are metal free. In the past, people who tested positive for an allergy to titanium or other metal had to use other tooth-replacement methods (e.g. partial or full dentures). However, zirconium implants allows people with these allergies to enjoy the benefits of implants.

Lastly, some models feature a one-piece design that minimizes the risk of gaps forming, which decreases the possibility of bacteria settling in open spaces and causing infection or other oral health problems.

Disadvantages of Zirconium Implants

Although ceramic implants in the past have been more vulnerable to breakage, recent technological developments have improved the material's durability. While, zirconium implants are very strong, they may not be strong enough to withstand the mouth's chewing forces on a constant basis. These implants may be better suited for front teeth rather than molars for this reason.

Additionally, at this time, there isn't a gold standard in the manufacturing of these implants, so the quality will vary. Even a tiny defect in the implant can result in breakage or shearing, requiring you to have the implant removed and replaced.

Whether you get titanium or zirconium, dental implants can help return the beauty and function to your mouth. For more information about zirconium implants or the implant procedure, connect with a cosmetic dentist, like David Jackson, DDS.