Dental implants represent a huge step in the right direction for many people with missing teeth. Implants provide people with easy-to-care-for alternatives to dentures and bridges. They look and feel like a person's own teeth. Some dental implant patients desire a more natural implant made of zircon rather than titanium. To find out more, read on.
In most cases, traditional implants consist of a titanium post that is inserted into the gum and jawbone. The post is later topped with a metal abutment which is connected to a crown. The crown looks like a natural tooth and can be made of porcelain or acrylic.
Zirconia implants are different. They are constructed of the natural mineral zirconium. This mineral is converted to look like natural tooth material. This type of implant is one piece rather than three. Many experts predict that zirconia implants may be less likely to attract bacteria since it is of one piece only. However, this type of implant is too new for experts to know the long-term outlook.
Titanium is a popular choice for not only dental implants but for all types of implanted devices from hips and other joints to heart pacemakers. Titanium has been used in dental implants for a long time. It's not likely to cause allergic reactions, it doesn't corrode or rust, and it's lightweight.
Titanium implants come in three pieces but that is seen as a benefit to dentists. They value being able to match the components themselves to achieve a custom-made solution for each patient. While titanium implants seldom cause reactions, some contain nickel and may trigger issues with wearers allergic to that metal. Speak to your dentist about your allergies before deciding on the type of implant you want.
Although they have not been in use for long, there have been no incidents reported of patients having an adverse reaction to zirconium. Here is what else patients need to consider when making a choice:
- Zirconium implants tend to be more expensive than titanium implants.
- If you intend to replace several teeth with implants, consider titanium instead of zirconium but not only because of the cost. Dentists will need the customization offered with the titanium implants since it's more difficult to angle and adjust zirconium implants.
- Dentists have found titanium implants to be very long-lasting, but zirconium implants have not been available long enough to judge them on longevity. In some cases, zirconium can crack under certain conditions.
- Zirconium tends to be more attractive for those whose gums may show the darkness of metal near the gumline. Zirconium crowns also appear more translucent and natural than other acrylic crowns.
This decision should be made after speaking to your dentist and conserving all factors. Reach out to a family dentist near you to learn more.