The Best Materials for Dental Implants
Titanium ImplantsTitanium is the original material used for modern implants. Per-Invar Brånemark discovered its use back in the 1950s when he was researching bone healing and regeneration. Eventually, he used it to develop the first dental implants. The first implants were made from pure titanium. This material, however, proved too soft. Eventually, a titanium alloy, titanium with trace amounts of other metals, was developed, greatly improving the strength of the implant posts. The posts have a rough texture, which has helped to greatly improve osseointegration, ensuring greater stability. Titanium dental implants have a 98% success rate.
The Development of Zirconia ImplantsEven though titanium has such a high success rate, the material is not ideal for everyone. Some patients have allergies or sensitivities to metal. Other patients may not like the idea of having metal posts implanted into their body. The quest to make implants available to more patients suffering tooth loss has led to research into alternative materials. One of the most promising materials so far is zirconium oxide or zirconia implants.
Zirconia implants are commonly called ceramic implants. They are considered to be a metal-free, although they do contain trace amounts of metal, which are required for strength. The posts, unlike titanium, are white in color. Additionally, your bone fuses to this material just as it would fuse to titanium implants. While still new, the research for zirconia implants is very promising and has shown that this material can be quite successful.
Which Option is Best?Both titanium implants, as well as zirconia implants, are considered biocompatible. This means that they are well-tolerated by the jawbone and the gum tissue, and they are very unlikely to irritate. Your jawbone can fuse to both materials, a process that turns them into stable roots that are then able to hold your dental restorations securely in place.
Titanium implants have years of research behind them. Because of this, the material is well understood and very predictable. Titanium implants are also very versatile. They are available as one or two-piece posts. Two-piece dental implants allow the posts to be placed at an angle, providing us with greater flexibility while still keeping your dental restorations in perfect alignment.
Zirconia implants are much newer, so the material is not as well understood as titanium. Additionally, zirconia implants are currently only available as one-piece posts. This means that they need to be placed precisely within your jaw. If there is not enough bone mass where the post needs to go, a bone graft may become necessary. However, zirconia implants are white in color, rather than the silver of titanium posts. In the event of gum recession or thin gum tissue, your implants are much less obvious. Zirconia is also considered a metal-free implant, providing a good alternative to those with allergies for, or concerns about, the metal in titanium.
While titanium implants are highly successful, this material is not the best option for everyone. With research into alternative materials, implants can become more widely available. For more information on dental implant materials, call Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center today at (570) 323-1900.