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Titanium dental implants compared to Zirconia ceramic dental implants
Over 60 years ago, a Swedish doctor by the name of Branemark discovered that when titanium was placed into contact with bone and left undisturbed, the bone grew right against the surface, making the titanium objects unremovable without cutting out the bone around the titanium. As a result, this discovery developed into today's implants. Originally, titanium seemed like an ideal material—its properties made it useful, practical and predictable. The initial implants were purely made of titanium, but they were a bit too soft, therefore an alloy (a mixture of metals or a mixture of a metal and another element) was developed to overcome the negative properties. Today, well over 95% of the dental implants placed are titanium alloys. Titanium is a metal, meaning it suffers corrosion. In addition, some people have a sensitivity or allergy to certain metails. A more biocompatible alternative is essential.
Does a healthier alternative implant exist?
To address concerns over titanium dental implants, research was done to develop a metal-free alternative. As a result, zirconia ceramic implants were developed. Zirconia is very strong, hard, and has also been used for making crowns and bridges. Additionally, it was discovered that zirconia also fused to bone (osseointegration) much like titanium.
Video: Introduction to Zerconia ceramic dental implants
What are the advantages of zirconia ceramic dental implants?
Among other reasons, some advantages of this type of implant material include:
- They are ultra-biocompatible
- Preserves more of the gum tissue and bone compared to titanium dental implants
- No dark colour of the metal showing through the gums
- No corrosion of the zirconia as with titanium
- No piezo-electric currents between dissimilar metals in the mouth
- It is thermally non-conductive