Are you skeptical about choosing the newer, more advanced dental implant alternative to the conventional one?
Zirconia implants are becoming more popular in the fields of implantology and holistic dentistry. With greater research, positive findings, and popularized use of these implants among implant patients, it is often considered the most viable alternative to the conventional titanium implants.
So, when we compare Zirconia vs titanium implants for their benefits and drawbacks, which one manages to beat the other? Besides, are zirconia implants safe, or are there potential side effects that have not been adequately explored yet?
Don’t worry – we will help you clear out all your doubts by covering answers to the most frequently asked questions about zirconia or titanium implants.
What Are Zirconia Implants Made Of?
Zirconia implants are one of the most popular ceramic implants that are known to be non-metallic. This property first led to its success as the safer dental implant alternative for people that suffer from metal allergies or susceptible gums.
These implants were introduced in 1987, a good two decades after titanium implants were popularized. However, it was only in the 21st century that zirconia implants grabbed the spotlight for their comparable success rate to the titanium ones.
To date, finding expertise with zirconium implants as widespread as that with titanium implants is difficult. Being a newer and more expensive technology, most dental offices still record lower zirconia implant rates. That, unfortunately, translates to a lower number of market case studies.
However, two-piece Zirconia implants have a success rate of nearly 97%, with Zeralock implants having success rates as high as 98.5%.
Titanium vs Zirconium Dental Implants
With Zirconia’s rising popularity, some speculate that this newer implant can soon overtake titanium’s demand in the market. However, many are still convinced that Zirconia cannot beat the durability and longevity of titanium implants.
To better be able to understand how the two implants stand against each other and which one is best for which scenario, let’s have a detailed look at each of their characteristics.
Often considered the ‘gold standard’ material for implants, titanium has gained popularity in implantology for its pressure-resistance and flexibility to form a two-piece structure.
Titanium implants are generally silver in color and are structurally divided into a screw/base and a crow/top. These are used when a patient has a strong and flexible enough jaw bone structure to handle metal insertion. The patient should also be non-allergic to metals.
Zirconia is one of the highest strength ceramic implants that promises close to no biological complications along with the greater esthetic value.
Structurally, zirconium implants are whitish or toothy in color owing to their core material, zirconium dioxide. Due to this material’s limitations, as of yet, these implants are only available as a single unit insert. However, progressive studies are being made to achieve a two-piece structure.
Zirconia implants are used when the patient is allergic to metals or can potentially have inflammatory side-effects by using metal-based implants due to their reactive nature.
Pros And Cons of Zirconia Implants
Despite the relative lack of research and findings on zirconium implants, several advantages and disadvantages have been observed. These can help us determine if Zirconia is the right implant for you.
Advantages Over Titanium Implants
- Zirconia is a ceramic material that makes it non-metallic and non-reactive in nature. This property contributes to its success in patients with hypersensitivity if titanium implants are rejected straight away.
- Zirconium implants are pure white. This makes them indistinguishable from the original teeth color, and the appearance turns out to be far better than that of its titanium counterpart.
- Some studies suggest that zirconia dental implants repel plaque formation and other bacterial activity around the implants. This keeps oral infections at bay.
- Zirconia dental implants resist corrosion, so the chances of degradation or damage are slim.
- Survival and success rates are slightly inferior to titanium implants. Most zirconia implants show a two-three years survival rate.
- Zirconia implants are not yet considered ideal options for complete teeth restoration that requires procedures of greater complexity. The reason is its lack of flexibility and versatility in options for the material.
- These are more expensive than titanium implants.
Pros and Cons Of Titanium Implants
Titanium implants are best known for their strength and longevity. This means the chances of having a fractured or cracked implant are drastically low, and your implants can easily last for about two decades!
Considering that titanium implants are not just popular in teeth restoration but also in various biomedical insertions, including neurosurgery and spinal cages, one would believe that they are the safest options out there. However, in some serious hypersensitivity cases, there have been reports of erythema, swelling, pain, urticaria, eczema, and more.
Check out our detailed discussion on this topic to gain more insight into the advantages and challenges of getting titanium dental implants.
Is It Safe?
Zirconia implants are completely inert, so there are no reported biological side-effects as such. Unlike titanium implants, these aren’t known to lead to any kind of allergic reactions.
Moreover, zirconia has biocompatibility more than any other material used in dental crowns and implants. Even if an implant is mistakenly swallowed, there will be no concern about the body’s toxic reactions. These factors largely guarantee the safe nature of zirconia implants.
Are Zirconia Implants A Better Option?
Now, should you go for titanium or zirconium dental implants? Zirconium teeth implants may not be the best option if you are looking for full denture implants or years and years of durability. They might even be more prone to fractures and cracks needing repairs.
However, with regular dental checkups and care, these dental implants are not as hard to maintain as one might think. Zirconia implant is definitely a better option if you want to restore a few teeth and want to retain your smile’s natural-looking aesthetics or just avoid metal dentistry.