Zirconium Dental Implants – A Ceramic Alternative to Titanium

Usually, dental implants are made from titanium or a titanium-based alloy. An implant consists of a metal rod, an abutment and crown and serves ideally as an artificial tooth. However, those who would rather not have a metal product like titanium in their mouths or have concerns about possible risks of titanium can opt for zirconium dental implants.

The dental implants are basically the best replacements if you have lost your natural tooth. These devices have a screw-like structure, and they are bonded to the bones of your teeth. Don’t imagine these screws look like the ones you can buy at the local stores. They are using high-end technology to be manufactured, and they are made of titanium, which is a material highly used in medicine for its anti-corrosive and durable properties.

A dental implant was used as early as 1952 by an orthopedic surgeon called P.I. Branemark from Sweden. Ever since the technology has been refined and developed even more, and zirconium implants have great success in the medical field. There are several advantages that speak in favor of choosing dental implants as an option if you have missing teeth. However, in order to become a successful candidate, you must have healthy gums and strong bones that will hold the artificial tooth replacement.

Bone grafting is also an option for people who do not have enough or strong jaw bones for the dental implant to be biologically inserted, but that is a more complex procedure. People choose dental implants because they look extremely natural. Someone with a dental implant denture will have a beautiful smile, just like he/she would have a natural set of healthy teeth. Dental implants not only look good, but they also feel like natural teeth. It takes a little bit of time until one gets used to them, but after that, you will never have any problems.

With aging, natural tooth loss is just normal. However, with that teeth loss, the bones in the jaw area will also start to collapse. If you have dental implants, the entire bone structure of the face stays in place. When dental bridge work is done to a patient, the teeth in the proximity of the missing teeth will be altered. This is not the case with dental implants, because none of your healthy teeth will suffer any changes or adjustments in order to make the implant fit.

With dental implants, the patient can eat and chew regularly just about any kind of food. With bridges and crowns, you may already know how embarrassing it can become to have a bite from an apple, without using quickly the adhesive. People who wear removable dentures might be more inhibited persons, especially when they are in social situations such as gatherings, public meetings, or even among friends. With dental implants, you will never have to worry that they might come off and cause you frustrations.

Titanium Implants – Associated Concerns

Titanium is said to be generally safe, but some doubts have been raised with regard to the use of titanium for medical purposes.

  • Titanium might slowly degrade and increase the concentration of the metal in the bloodstream. Concerns exist regarding possible long term effects of titanium in the blood.
  • Though a rare phenomenon, titanium implants may be rejected by the patient’s immune system.
  • Some forms of titanium are said to have a harmful effect on health. For instance, titanium tetrachloride is associated with skin irritation. It is also said to cause severe damage to the lungs if inhaled.

The Zirconium Advantage

Zirconium dental implants behave just like titanium implants. Zirconium is a ceramic substance that is white in color, flexible, strong and is ideal for use as a dental implant material.

This material is reported to be highly resistant to corrosion and is considered by some to be a better implant material than titanium. Zirconium implants are suitable for the osseointegration process (integration with the natural bone) and are easily accepted by the body.

They are ideal for those patients whose immune systems do not accept titanium implants. Zirconium implants are also credited with a slightly higher integration success rate than titanium implants.

Zirconium implants have excellent tensile strength, so they are more durable with less risk of breakage. Moreover, the material is also capable of holding up to drastic changes in temperature.

Zirconium implants are said to be ideal for the posterior teeth that are subject to heavier chewing forces. These implants are also perfect for patients who may have allergic reactions towards metals.

Being white in color, zirconium implants have a definite advantage or aesthetics over titanium dental implants. These will be welcome to those patients who don’t like the thought of a dark-colored implant. Any possibility of a gray color like that of titanium showing through the gums is ruled out with zirconium implants.

Zirconium Dental Implants – Drawbacks

  • Zirconium is a radioactive material and might contain radioactive isotopes. However, the implants made of this material give out only a minute level of radioactivity and are certified to be non-dangerous by the manufacturers. It is mandatory for companies that manufacture these implants to declare the radiation levels of the zirconium used.
  • They are substantially more costly than the titanium variety. Being new products, they have yet to establish a successful track record like their titanium counterparts.

Zirconium dental implants are undoubtedly a valuable addition in the fields of implantology and cosmetic dentistry. They are excellent options in instances where titanium dental implants cannot be used.

Their durability and outstanding performance make them ideal tooth replacement alternatives. Moreover, they are a boon to patients who are concerned about issues such as a build-up of titanium in the bloodstream. It is important that specialist implant dentists provide all required information to the patient regarding zirconium implants so that the patient can make a well-informed choice.