Are you trying to decide whether titanium or zirconia dental implants are best for replacing your missing teeth? There are three things you should know about each of them before making a decision.
Titanium Dental Implants
1. Their History
In the last 20 years, titanium has gained popularity for use in many medical and dental procedures, including:
- Dental implants
- Hip and knee replacement
- Elbow and shoulder joint replacement
- Protect vertebrae in some back surgeries
- Cardiovascular devices
- External prosthesis
2. Why Titanium Dental Implants Work So Well
Titanium is so successful because it’s biocompatible, extremely resistant to corrosion, and super strong. The element has been rigorously tested and researched.
3. What about Titanium Allergies?
The thought of receiving titanium dental implants causes many people to be concerned about metal allergies and sensitivities. Nickel, cobalt, and chromium are the most common causes of reactions to metal in humans. The human body needs to maintain microelements of certain metals, including iron, copper, and zinc for certain functions. But what about titanium? It is biocompatible. Studies show that .06% percent—an extremely low rate—of patients experience a reaction. That means the vast majority of patients have not experienced a negative reaction to the implants.
If you have a history of metal allergies, speak with your implant dentist about your concerns. Some patients choose to be tested for allergies before receiving dental work that contains metal.
Zirconia Dental Implants
1. What Are They Made Of?
Zirconia dental implants are made of zirconium oxide. Zirconium dioxide is known for its high flexural strength. It is used in aerospace, optoelectronics, and nuclear power.
This dental ceramic contains both metallic and non-metallic atoms, which makes it a transition metal. Unlike titanium, it is not classified as a true metal. Although titanium sensitivities are rare, people who have them can usually tolerate zirconia implants.
2. How do zirconia dental implants compare to traditional ones?
- They are titanium-free.
- They are durable and long-lasting.
- They are white, so many people think they are more aesthetically pleasing than titanium implants.
- Unlike traditional implants, some zirconia implants are a single unit—combining the implant fixture and abutment (which supports a dental crown).
3. What’s the success rate?
Although studies vary, results of a September 2016, Springer – Clinical Oral Investigations study reports that after one year of function, zirconia implants had a 92% survival rate. The success rate of titanium implants is about 95%.
So What Should You Do?
Each patient case is different. Consult with at least two skilled prosthodontists or implant dentists to discuss your options. If you are allergic to titanium or any other metal, let the dentists know. You will need an examination to determine if you’re a candidate for this form of tooth replacement. A highly skilled prosthodontist will let you know the results you can expect from either zirconia or titanium implants.
This post is sponsored by Naperville American-board certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.