Metal-Free Implants (Zirconia): New Options in Dental Implantology

For years, titanium has been the go-to choice of materials when it comes to dental implants. Because of its high rate of biocompatibility (ability to “osseointegrate” or “fuse with the bone”), titanium is a natural, reliable choice. However, the trend in medical and dental fields today is a movement away from metals and toward alternative prosthetic materials such as ceramic implants. One of the best alternatives to titanium is zirconium oxide, which has proven itself to be safe, strong, and, like titanium, an excellent choice for osseointegration with the jawbone.

Advantages of Ceramic Dental Implants

  • Ceramic implants are tooth-colored and don’t show through the gums like titanium ones sometimes do. This provides for a better aesthetic outcome.
  • Zirconia implants are one-piece (as opposed to titanium implants which are comprised of a screw and an abutment). This minimizes gingival infection where prosthetic connections would normally occur.
  • Titanium implants may suffer corrosion, while ceramic implants do not.
  • Ceramic implants are easier to clean because the margin is set closer to the gum line. There is less likelihood for bleeding and inflammation of the gums.

Are there any disadvantages to zirconia implants?

As with any medical or dental procedure, metal-free dental implants carry some disadvantages:

  • Zirconia implants, because they are one piece, do not heal under the gums, which may cause complications during the osseointegration phase.
  • While zirconia is strong, it is not as flexible as titanium and thus can develop micro cracks and fractures.
  • Zirconia implants are usually not suitable for full-mouth reconstructive purposes.

Are zirconia dental implants really metal-free?

A mixture of pure zirconium, oxide and traces of other metals, “zirconia” is a white, opaque substance that looks like and technically has a ceramic makeup. This is why it is categorized as a “ceramic implant”, although it does contain some metallic atoms.

Reasons to Consider Metal-Free Dental Implants

For some patients, the movement away from introducing metal into the body has lead them to ceramic alternatives such as zirconia. And, for others, a concern about metal allergies (although they are incredibly rare), has directed them toward metal-free choices.

If you are curious about dental implants but have hesitated to have titanium implants placed, ceramic dental implants may be right for you! We are here to help you thoroughly explore the risks and benefits associated with your tooth replacement options. Call us at Tampa Office Phone Number 813- 264-2286 to find out more about this life-changing process.