Dental implants are specifically designed to replace missing teeth and have been used for decades with great success. As all dental surgeons know, titanium has been the industry standard concerning the vast majority of dental surgeries being done. However, in some cases, titanium isn’t the best option and some patients who have high failure rates with their implants may find zirconia to be the better choice. Many patients are also concerned about putting additional metal into their bodies, so they want a more realistic alternative. Ceramic implants are on the rise and are being used in thousands of surgical offices.
What are Zirconia Implants?
Zirconia or ceramic dental implants are a one-piece design that is surgically placed at the margin of the gum line similarly to titanium implants. Because of this one-piece design, they are often easier to handle and offer a relatively seamless option for surgeons who want to place the implant and then continue on with the crown procedure itself. This prevents using metal within the procedure and can help with patients who have had issues with metal implantation in the past.
Ceramic dental implants are made using high-quality zirconia, which is a form of zirconium oxide. While zirconium is often thought of as a metal, the addition of oxide transitions its structure, name and how it behaves when used within the dental field. The resulting implant is white in color and more aesthetically-pleasing than its titanium alternative.
15 Benefits of Choosing Ceramic Implants for Your Practice
1. One-Piece Design –
The ceramic implant is made with a one-piece singular design. This means that the implant can be placed directly underneath the gum line without the need for heal time in between. While some surgeons choose to wait for the tissue to heal, ceramic is a great option for patients not wanting to wait up to six months for their implants to “take”.
2. No Micro Gaps –
With traditional titanium implants, micro gaps may be present after the metal has been surgically placed underneath the gum line. Because of its one-piece design, zirconia has virtually no micro gaps for a more seamless surgical placement.
3. Aesthetically-Pleasing –
Ceramic dental implants are more aesthetically-pleasing due to their gorgeous white and smooth finish. This creates a seamless look in the mouth for a more uniform smile. The zirconia also stays white despite being in a patient’s mouth for years.
4. Better Bond with Bone –
Overall osseointegration with the bone has been found to either be similar to or better than titanium implants when using ceramic. This is ideal for patients who have had failed implants and need a more stable solution to their oral health needs.
5. Helps with Plaque Accumulation –
Due to its smooth finish, ceramic implants inhibit the adhesion of plaque and bacteria, lending to a healthier smile and mouth. This prevents failure of the implant due to bacteria and inflammation.
6. High Endurance –
When it concerns ceramic vs metal, ceramic has a higher endurance rate than titanium. These implants can endure up to 150 pounds of force before fracturing and cracking, which is highly beneficial to people of all ages and sizes.
7. No Allergic Reactions –
Some patients have an allergy to titanium and unfortunately, it is not uncommon for surgeons to find out about this allergy until a titanium implant has been placed. Because zirconia is a clean and metal-free option, it is ideal for patients with allergies and for surgeons who are looking to prevent potential allergic reactions in patients.
8. Holistic and Metal-Free –
Many patients are concerned about putting metal in their mouths and are looking to switch to more holistic dental prosthetics. Ceramic implants do not contain metal and are free of allergens, providing a more holistic approach to replacing missing teeth.
9. No Corrosion –
Titanium implants can and will eventually corrode, causing major dental complications within the mouth decades after they have been placed. Corrosion of titanium implants can cause bone loss, infection and severe inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue. Because of their metal-free design, ceramic implants will not corrode over time and are meant to last for decades.
10. Non-Polar –
Because of the implant’s non-polar structure, bacteria will not adhere onto the zirconia implant as it would on titanium. This creates a healthier implant option for the mouth without the fear of bacterial growth underneath the gums.
11. Non-Heat Conductive –
Unlike metal, ceramic implants do not conduct heat. Titanium can and will conduct as well as hold onto heat, which could damage surrounding tissue. Once the zirconia implant has been placed, the tissue around the implant can heal and will remain unaffected.
12. Preserves Bone –
Titanium has been shown to cause peri-implant bone loss in those who have had implants placed. Ceramic implants, on the other hand, do not cause this bone loss and are more ideal for long-term surgical use.
13. Cleaner –
Ceramic implant margins are placed at the gum line, whereas titanium is placed underneath the gum line. This above gum level option helps the patient to keep the implant cleaner and preserves healthy surrounding gum tissue as a result of better oral hygiene.
14. No Metallic Taste –
Titanium is a metal that can cause corrosion and oxidation, resulting in a metallic taste in the mouth for your patients. Zirconia is clean and free of metal, preventing that unpleasant metallic taste after implantation has been complete.
15. Happier Patients –
Ceramic implants require very little healing time, are cleaner and whiter looking as well as being better for patients’ overall oral health. Because of this, implant procedures using this material results in happier patients with fewer recovery problems.
Switching from Titanium to Zirconia for Implant Procedures
According to a study published in 2010 by the University of Barcelona in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, it was found that there was a 97.6 percent success rate over the course of five years regarding 831 ceramic implants. It was also noted in the same study that the patients’ mouths were healthy and free of implant-related complications.
When it concerns the difference between ceramic vs metal implants, the choice is quite clear. For this reason, many surgeons are making the switch from old titanium implants to newer, cleaner and hygienic zirconia. Ceramic implants have been used for years and are gaining popularity because of their smooth and seamless finish. By offering a metal-free alternative to your patients, they will be happier and healthier as a result.