Why is Zirconia Dental Implants hyped?
The trend in recent years has been to avoid using harmful metals from coming into contact with our bodies. So, it is advisable to utilize the least toxic materials for choosing dental implants. It's also crucial to consider the implant's durability, clinical success, manufacturing quality, and other design and material features.
Zirconia is a material that can be used instead of titanium for dental implants. Patients concerned about their health often inquire, "Are zirconia dental implants superior to titanium?" The answer is not straightforward because it is necessary to comprehend the possible benefits, limitations, hazards, and current situation of zirconia dental implants.
What are zirconia implants?
With their high durability and success rate of over 97%, Titanium dental implants have become standard dental devices for replacing missing teeth. Though zirconia was introduced in 1987, they have recently acquired popularity as there is an increase in the need for biocompatible dentistry. Zirconia is intensively studied and is being considered as a potential alternative to titanium dental implants for replacing missing natural teeth.
Though zirconium dental implants are marketed as non-metallic implants, they contain both metal and non-metallic components. Zirconium dioxide, sometimes known as zirconia, is a ceramic made up of zirconium compounds and oxygen elements.
Is a zirconium implant better than a titanium implant?
It’s hard to explain because it all depends on your priorities. Titanium has a longer track record, more research and clinical studies, and decades of proof demonstrating its reliability and efficacy as a biomaterial for dental implants.
On the other hand, zirconia is gaining traction as a viable alternative to traditional titanium-based implant systems. Compared to titanium implants, zirconia is said to offer better soft-tissue response, biocompatibility, and aesthetics. Furthermore, research has revealed that titanium and zirconia implants have remarkably similar osseointegration with the jawbone. (Manzano et al., 2014).
Pros of zirconia implants in contrast to titanium dental implants?
- Esthetical Appearance: As zirconia implants have tooth-like coloration, they are beneficial in the esthetic zone. In some cases, titanium implants can cause tissue staining or grayness that shows through the gingiva (gums); zirconia implants would not have staining issues.
- Allergy to Metal: One of the most common reasons patients seek treatment with metal-free implants is due to metal allergy to titanium or other trace metals found in titanium implants.
- Decreased Plaque Accumulation: Studies have shown that zirconia implants cause less plaque buildup and infections.
- Zirconia has high corrosion resistance.
- Zirconia implants are a poor electrical and thermal conductor and have no galvanic effects.
Cons of zirconia implants in contrast to titanium dental implants
- Limited Design Options: Zirconia implants are in the early stages of development. In comparison to titanium, zirconia implant designs and parts currently have fewer possibilities. It may be impossible to get better outcomes for complex cases due to limited choice.
- Success Rate: Zirconia implants have yet to be established in terms of long-term effectiveness and results. Titanium implants have undergone numerous design modifications and developments throughout the years, resulting in 94-97 percent long-term success rates. Long-term survival of zirconia implants is a source of concern, as are potential consequences.
- Fracture Resistance: Zirconia is fragile and has lesser fracture and ductility than titanium. Although it is robust in compression, it is more prone to fracture than titanium when subjected to bending or flexing stresses (flexural strength). Long-term, zirconia will have a higher risk of fractures and problems. Zirconia is a type of implant which is not resistant to fractures.
- Full mouth reconstruction: Zirconia implants are not recommended for patients who are missing all of their teeth or who require implant dentures to replace all of their teeth due to their limited options. Titanium implant systems typically offer a more comprehensive range of component alternatives, including angulation, size, function, and even solutions for difficult situations. So, zirconium implants are not ideal for tooth replacements for multiple missing teeth.
How safe are zirconia dental implants?
Zirconia has several benefits, but it’s far from ideal, and zirconia implants have some severe drawbacks. Although zirconia implants are a safe and viable alternative to titanium implants, there are numerous reasons to continue with titanium implants.