Dental Implant Types – Which is Better?
For decades, the norm in dental implant materials has been titanium. With newer technological developments in the field of dentistry, different materials have started to be used for the manufacture of dental implants. These materials have been subjected to thorough research related to their chemical and physical properties before clinical applications. Ideally, dental implant materials need to be biocompatible and strong enough to resist huge amounts of pressure exerted when chewing or biting. They also need to be highly resistant to fracturing or corrosion. Titanium and zirconium dental implants are the most popular choices today for regular dental implants since these materials offer great strength and biocompatibility.
Titanium Dental Implants
These implants are made from a metal called titanium, which is the most common material used for implants as well as other prosthetics in the medical field. The biggest advantage titanium has over other materials is its biocompatibility – the bone surrounding titanium implants will continue to grow and create a permanent bond. Given its prevalence in dentistry and the medical field, titanium is also more affordable than other options.
Zirconia Dental Implants
Dental implants produced from zirconia are a relatively recent invention, becoming widely available in the 1990s. Although these implants are still relatively new, they are becoming more popular due to their aesthetics.
Titanium VS Zirconia Dental Implants
Both zirconia and titanium dental implants have different characteristics and advantages. For example, titanium has been the norm in dentistry for over 30 years, meaning that it has been thoroughly tested by millions of patients. During this time it has proven to offer high success rates both in dentistry as well as in other medical fields. Being so versatile made it virtually indispensible to the medical field. Let’s look at a few advantages titanium has over zirconia dental implants.
- Titanium dental implants are made up of two separate components – the implant which will eventually fuse with the bone and an abutment which is screwed on top of the implant. On the other hand, zirconia dental implants are produced from only one single piece.
- Titanium is fully biocompatible, meaning that it’s able to naturally fuse to bone over time, making it even more durable. Zirconia cannot fuse to bone.
- Given that titanium dental implants are produced from two pieces, it’s possible to provide customizable implant solutions for patients with bone loss or with bone deficiency.
- Zirconia-based dental implants can form micro-cracks when adjusted. These micro-cracks can later cause fractures in the implant itself. This is due to the fact that zirconia is not as flexible as other materials such as titanium.
- Zirconia dental implant crowns are usually cemented in place, instead of being screwed in place as it’s the case with titanium. Dental cement can have a detrimental effect on the tissue and bone surrounding the implant.
This content is written and reviewed by our medical content team in January, 2019.