If your body doesn’t react well to metal or you have a diagnosed metal allergy, you may feel like your options are limited for restorative dentistry solutions when it comes to replacing missing teeth. But titanium dental implants are not your only option. Zirconium dental implants are just as life-changing as other types of dental implants, with far greater benefits.
Titanium vs. Zirconium Dental Implants
Titanium dental implants are reliable because they fuse directly to your jawbone like a natural tooth root. Zirconium implants also fuse with the jaw bone and keep it strong. However, there can be an instability issue with titanium dental implants, and this type of implant can also lead to visible grey rings in the mouth.
What’s important to know is that zirconium is not “non-metal.” Technically, it’s a metal, located on the periodic table right next to titanium. Their properties are very similar, but zirconium does not exist in nature in the pure state. Zirconium is a hard metal that is corrosion-resistant and similar to steel, but it is only obtained through a complex physico-chemical process. In the realm of dental implants, zirconium is biocompatible – meaning it’s completely tissue-friendly – and people do not typically experience allergic reactions to zirconium. There is also no sensitivity to temperature and the zirconium does not impact taste.
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your dentist to determine what type of dental implant is right for your needs and for long-term success and safety. Zirconium dental implants are one-piece structures that work in only one position. Titanium dental implants are comprised of a two-piece structure which offers more flexibility, particularly when adding the customized prosthetic tooth to the top of the implant. The implantation method for zirconium implants, therefore, must be done very precisely so that the angle and orientation is correct. The benefit, however, to using a zirconium implant is that it has no opportunity to ever shift or create any sort of space, no matter how miniscule, for bacteria to colonize.
The Many Benefits of Zirconium Dental Implants
Ultimately, the reason for investing in dental implants is to protect your smile as a whole, improve the look of your smile, and save your jaw from deteriorating or your face from sinking in on itself. Of course, zirconium dental implants fill the gap left by missing teeth, but they also improve your ability to eat, talk, and smile, not to mention giving you a major confidence boost.
- Aesthetics: Zirconium dental implants are white, so they look natural when implanted. Titanium dental implants can make a patient’s gums look grey, particularly if you have thin gums or experience gum recession. If you are not a zirconium dental implant candidate and it is recommended that you stick with titanium, don’t despair – when this treatment is combined with zirconium abutments and crowns, you’ll achieve similar desirable aesthetic results.
- Functionality: Dental implants function just like a natural tooth. And that’s one of the main goals of receiving an implant – to restore full mobility and functionality to your jaw and teeth so you can chew and speak normally.
- Compatibility: Patients who are unaware that they have a metal allergy may not even discover its existence until long after their dental implants have been put into place, ultimately resulting in implant failure and potentially bone loss. Because zirconium dental implants are hypoallergenic and composed of gum tissue-friendly material, sensitivities and allergies are usually not an issue, which makes them a good choice from the start.
- Durability: Zirconium dental implants are designed to stand up to great force and, even when put under pressure, they are durable, strong, and inflexible. All of these characteristics lend themselves to the long-term success of the implants.
- Ease of Care: Once your implants are in place, they do not require any special care. Simply brush and floss the same way you care for your natural teeth, and keep up with your bi-annual visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning and exam.
At the International Center for Dental Excellence, Dr. Yolanda Cintron uses the Z-Systems zirconium implants as an alternative to titanium dental implants. Both types of implants, however, are available, because every dental patient has unique needs. Not sure if you are allergic to metal? Biocompatibility testing will give you the answers you need and help you and Dr. Cintron get you on the path to impeccable oral health. Schedule your appointment today.