Zirconia Dental Implants: Is Ceramic Better than Metal?

Titanium dental implants are the most extensively used dental implants on the market today. This is due to their excellent compatibility and high strength to weight ratio. Dentists agree that titanium is an excellent material for producing durable long lasting implants but recent developments have led to some companies such as Nobel Bio care releasing a new wave of Zirconia Dental implants. Are Zirconia implants really an improvement or is this just a way for the dental implant manufacturers to make an easy profit? This article will investigate.

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What is this Zirconia stuff anyway?

Zirconium is a  grey -white transition metal in its purest form which resembles titanium. Zirconium is very resistant to corrosion and for this reason is most commonly used as an alloying material. Zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) or Zirconia is extensively used for lab equipment due to its high fracture toughness and chemical resistance. More recently dental implant manufactures have developed new dental implants which utilise Zirconium compounds.

Who makes Zirconia dental implants?

There are a few Zirconia dental implants on the market today. One of the main players for Zirconia implants is Nobel Bio care. They have introduced their patented one piece Zirconia implant. Other manufacturers include Zimmer and Biomet 3i.

What are the benefits of Zirconia dental implants?

Zirconia implants are said to provide an improved patient service with a quicker and more patient-oriented implant therapy. As Zirconia is white it has an obvious aesthetic advantage over titanium as it is indistinguishable from natural teeth. The high corrosion resistance of the material means that there is virtually no danger of corrosion with Zirconia implants. In addition some patients may not like the idea of having metal inserted into their mouth; Zirconia implants offer patients another more comfortable option.

Are there any risks associated with using Zirconia?

One of the main risks associated with Zirconium based implants is radioactivity. Zirconium at any time can contain a certain number of radioactive isotopes. This can lead to an increased chance of various Oral cancers. Generally implants are produced from Zirconia material with extremely low radiation emission levels however all manufacturers of Zirconia dental implants are asked to produce a declaration of radioactivity for their Zirconium based dental products.

Zirconia implants are definitely a viable option for you if you want to get new dental implants but be sure to talk through all your options with your dentist first. Read our article on titanium dental implants to learn more about this more commonly used implant material.

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