Dental Implant Materials
At Timothy H. Kindt, DDS, your oral health is our top priority. When faced with tooth loss, we provide dental implants as a restorative option. Implants have quickly become one of the most popular options. Not only do they restore the basic functions of your teeth and the appearance of your smile, they also help to maintain the strength and integrity of your jawbone. The implants, which are surgically inserted into the jaw, mimic the roots your body that nutrients are needed, a signal that is lost when you experience tooth loss. The implants support ceramic crowns, which look identical to your natural teeth. Implants offer numerous benefits over traditional replacement options, including greater comfort, permanence, ease of care, and more. Dental implants are usually made from titanium, but zirconium is being researched as an option as well.
Titanium Dental Implants
Titanium has been used for dental implants since it was discovered back in the 1950s that bone fuses to the it. It was an accidental discovery by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, who was researching bone healing and regeneration. During his study, he found that a rabbit’s femur had fused to a titanium implant. This discovery spurred further research, and eventually led to the development, and successful placement, of dental implants. Original implants were made of pure titanium. This material, however, proved too weak to successfully replace missing teeth. As a result, most implants are actually a titanium alloy. In fact, 95% of the implants placed are made from this alloy material. Since they have been made, hundreds of titanium alloy implants have been placed, and they have a success rate of 98%.
Zirconium Dental Implants
While titanium implants are highly successful, they do contain metal. This can cause some concerns for some people, including those who do not want metal within their bodies or those who have a metal allergy. To address these concerns, research has been done into alternative materials. This led to the discovery of zirconium. While the zirconium oxide used for dental implants is labeled as metal-free, it does contain trace amounts of metal. This helps to provide these implants with greater strength. Still, titanium implants are labeled as ceramic. Bone fuses to zirconium in the same way that it fuses to titanium. Zirconium is also a strong, stable material.
Titanium Vs Zirconium
Both titanium and zirconium implants work very well with your jawbone, which can fuse to either material to create a stable root that then supports your replacement teeth. However, there are several years more research and development behind titanium implants, making it better understood. Titanium implants are more versatile than zirconium implants. They can be made as single pieces or two separate pieces (the actual implant that is placed in the jaw and a post, which supports your replacement tooth). Two-piece implants enable us to place the implants at an angle in your jaw, maximizing contact with the bone in your jaw while still properly anchoring your replacement tooth, or teeth, in place.
Zirconium implants are much newer, and therefore there is not as much known about them. They are currently only available in single pieces. Because of this, they cannot be placed at angles, and require sufficient bone mass for successful placement. This material does have a few significant advantages, however. First, they are white in color, which means that no silver color will show through the gums. Zirconium, unlike titanium, is also resistant to corrosion.
Dental implants are popular with both patients and practitioners alike. In order to learn more about the different materials used for dental implants, and find out if implants are right for you, contact Timothy H. Kindt, DDS at (480) 939-5818 today.