Are Zirconia Implants Safer than Metal Implants?

Throughout the decades, the materials that have been used for the dental treatments have been made with metal. The main reason was to give mechanical strength and therefore add to the longevity of the treatment. Over time, however, studies revealed that “metal in the mouth” could pose serious risks and lead to health issues that are not easily treated. Consequently, scientists began to look for healthier alternatives to dental metal.

Originally, ceramic (zirconia) implants were introduced because of their fabulous aesthetic properties. However, the latest research shows that the aesthetic quality is not the most important characteristic of this material. Due to their non-corrosive and nonallergic properties, zirconia implants may actually be safer and more beneficial to the patient than any other dental material.

BENEFITS OF ZIRCONIA IMPLANTS

Zirconia implants are biocompatible, which means they promote complete assimilation into jawbone. They are also hypoallergenic, which is not the case with metal implants. Surprisingly, many cases of titanium implant sensitivity show up years after surgery when itchiness and inflammation develop around implant sites. This may result in bone loss and other complications.

Today, there’s a growing number of people who have allergies, skin sensitivities and compromised immune systems. It’s therefore quite important to avoid implantation of metal devices, especially since the removal of a titanium implant from the jawbone is not a simple procedure.[1]

One problem that frequently arises with titanium implants is aesthetics. Patients with thin, translucent gums or those who are prone to gum recession (as many aging people are) may end up with the gray gums or titanium showing around the margin of the crown. Zirconia is non-metallic and white and much more natural looking than titanium and closely mimics the natural color of your jawbone and teeth.

Another important benefit is that zirconia is resistant to chemical corrosion and will not conduct electricity or heat. It will never trigger chemical reactions, travel to other sites in the body or interfere with the maintenance of optimal oral health.[2]

Titanium is another story. It’s been scientifically proven that a titanium implant can corrode in the wet environment of a mouth, especially if there is more than one metal in the vicinity (such as amalgam fillings, alloy metal crowns, bridges or gold onlays / inlays) to trigger reactions. Metal corrosion can even be more active in the presence of fluoride that is free flowing in some water supplies, toothpastes and mouthwashes. Some studies have suggested that titanium will not only travel from the implant site into surrounding tissues but even into nearby lymph nodes. [3]

The fact that zirconia does not conduct an electrical charge is a big benefit. Bacterial growth on the surface of a zirconia implant is far less likely to adhere due to its non-conductivity, thus creating an oral environment that promotes much healthier gums.

Finally, the success of zirconia implants is one of the most important features of this innovative and biofriendly system. Designed to withstand tremendous forces, zirconia implants mimic the best of nature with a variety of tooth-like contours and bioinert composition. Zirconia is well known for its durability and inflexibility under pressure – an excellent combination for dental devices.

Overall, zirconia implant patients experience a shorter implantation process, along with a significant increase in comfort and function afterward due to biocompatibility and the strength of zirconia. With zirconia, the odds are in favor of long-term success.

If you or someone in your family have questions about whether zirconia implants will work for you, feel free to contact us for a consultation!


Sources:

 

[1] Manish Goutam, Chandu Giriyapura, Sunil Kumar Mishra,  Siddharth Gupta. Titanium Allergy: A Literature Review. Indian J Dermatol. 2014;59(6): 630.

 

[2] Titanium Corrosion: Implications For Dental Implants. Shah R, Penmetsa DSL, Thomas R, Mehta DS.

 

[3] Is zirconia a viable alternative to titanium for oral implant? A critical review -Journal of Prosthodontic Research