Dental implants are unquestionably the gold standard in tooth replacement. They’re a durable, dependable, and permanent solution for missing teeth, designed to look, feel, and chew just like the real thing.
For many years, implants were made exclusively from one material – titanium. But recently, zirconium has been introduced as a safe, reliable, and metal-free alternative. But what’s the difference between these two options, and which one is right for you? To help you make an informed decision, let’s run through a few key features of each one.
Time-tested titanium in Dental Implants
Titanium has been used for many years in both medical and dental procedures with an extremely high rate of success. It’s the metal of choice for hip replacements, knee replacements, and other bone implants such as rods, pins, and plates – and millions of patients have reaped the benefits. The reason it’s so frequently used? It’s biocompatible – meaning it’s a good match for the human body – and it has an inherent ability to fuse with human bone.
Titanium dental implants can also be manufactured in two pieces – a post that’s surgically implanted in the bone, and a separate abutment, which sits on top of the implant and connects to the replacement tooth. These two-piece systems allow implants to be placed at customized angles to account for low bone volume or other biological deficiencies. So even if you’ve experienced bone loss, your dentist can still help you achieve a picture-perfect smile.
Zirconium: The new choice for Dental Implants
Compared to titanium, zirconium implants are relatively new. They were developed in response to consumer demand for a “metal-free” implant option. Since they’re made of a ceramic material, not only do they allay the fears of those who wish to avoid a metal implant, but they also provide an aesthetic benefit, in that the material is naturally tooth-colored.
Zirconia implants are manufactured in a single piece – post and abutment together – meaning there’s no prosthetic connections. Therefore, there’s less room for bacteria to hide out and multiply, which equals a greater chance at healthy gums.
Drawbacks to zirconium implants
Unfortunately, because zirconium implants haven’t been around as long as the titanium ones, we haven’t been able to study the long-term success and failure rates of these implants. We do know, however, that they’re not recommended for people who have issues with grinding or clenching; the ceramic material isn’t as durable as titanium, and is prone to fracture under great stress.
Furthermore, unlike titanium implants, zirconium implants are manufactured in one piece. This allows for less flexibility and customization in terms of placement – and little room for error when performing the implant procedure.
Why choose titanium for Dental Implants?
The impetus for creating zirconium implants was to address the concerns of people who may potentially have titanium allergies. However, true titanium allergies are exceedingly rare. Through the years, millions of people have received titanium implants all over their bodies, and few have experienced adverse effects.
Not only do titanium implants have a long successful history, but they’re also much more versatile and durable than zirconium implants, offering flexibility in terms of positioning and placement with their two-piece systems.
Let Town Center Dentistry help you decide with Dental Implants
Only your dentist can help you choose the right material for your dental implants. The specialists at Town Center Dentistry are well versed in the details of both titanium and zirconium implants, and can answer any questions you may have about either one. Call us at (858) 281-0281 and schedule a consultation with one of our team members to help you decide which dental implants will work for you.