Zirconia Dental Implants Vs. Titanium Implants
By: Dr. Matt Nejad and Dr. Kyle Stanley
Patients are becoming increasingly concerned with the materials coming into contact with their bodies and the impact this can have on their overall health and safety. When selecting dental implants, it is ideal to use the least reactive and least toxic material possible. It is also important to evaluate the strength, clinical success, manufacturer quality, and other implant material and design factors.
Over the years, the trend has been towards avoiding the use of metals in our body. An alternative material to titanium exists in the form of zirconia for dental implants. Health-conscious patients frequently ask, “Are zirconia dental implants better than titanium?” The answer to this question is not simple, as it is important to understand the potential benefits, limitations, risks, and current state of zirconia dental implant options.
What Are Zirconia Implants
Dental implants are medical devices used to replace missing teeth. Since the 1960s, titanium implants have been the industry standard. With decades of clinical success and innovation, titanium implants have become one of the most successful medical devices in all of medicine with long-term success rates between 94-97%.
Zirconia implants are an alternative to titanium implants. They were released in 1987, but have recently gained attention with the increasing demand for Biomimetic and holistic dentistry. They are actively investigated with new clinical research and rapid improvements in manufacturing and design.
What Are Zirconia Implants Made of
Zirconia dental implants are typically marketed as a non-metal alternative to titanium implants. Zirconia is a ceramic material that is white in color. For many, it comes as a surprise that ceramics contain both metals and non-metals.
A ceramic is a solid material comprising an inorganic compound of metal or metalloid and non-metal with ionic or covalent bonds.
Zirconia, otherwise known as Zirconium dioxide, is a ceramic consisting of the elements Zirconium and Oxygen (1 atom of Zirconium & 2 atoms of Oxygen). Zirconium has an atomic number of 40 making it a transitional METAL. Therefore, Zirconia implants contain metallic atoms of Zirconium, but are not considered a metal due to its metal oxide structure (ZrO2). The addition of the oxide changes its composition structure, behavior, and name.