Dental Implant Materials
Since their introduction, dental implants have proven themselves one of the most valuable and versatile innovations in restorative dentistry. They can replace a lost or damaged tooth, fix serious bite issues from malocclusion, and fill gaps that may otherwise cause the rest of your teeth to shift out of place. In recent years, however, growing patient demand for more natural-looking & feeling implants has pushed technology to evolve, resulting in a greater variety of implant types than ever before.
Today, we at Alexandra Garcia, DDS, MS will educate you in some of the most popular and effective available materials in hopes of providing a better understanding of how the choice of implant can impact your results for a new and improved beautiful smile. If you or a loved one are considering an implant and have any questions or wish to set up an appointment, please call us at (346) 250-2930.
In the early days of the practice, materials like cobalt-chromium and stainless steel were occasionally used for implants. Unfortunately, their low success rates and inadequate osseointegrative properties (how well or poorly the implant integrates into living bone) quickly made them ill-advised for long-term application. Following the discovery in 1950 of a new metal’s low-level toxicity, allergenic potential, and higher resistance to corrosion, however, the industry reached a positive turning point.
From 1965 onward, titanium has become the standard option for dental implants. To this day, no other material is more commonly sought after by patients or more ideal for a successful procedure, especially long-term solutions. Titanium has shown itself to have consistently superior biocompatibility, able to fuse well with bone without disturbing its growth. Additionally, the cost is generally reasonable.
Titanium designs can be produced in a two-piece system. One is an abutment sitting atop the implant and connecting to your replacement tooth. The other is a post surgically bonded into the bone. This two piece system allows for customization of your implant and solves low bone issues, meaning your smile will not be hindered even by bone loss.
More commonly called zirconia, this metal-free material is a far more recent invention and already regarded as a very promising future candidate in dental implant manufacturing. While zirconia had already seen full abutment application in the early 1990s, titanium was still all the rage. It wasn’t until 2003 that the first all-in-one zirconia crown was released. Despite their relatively new availability, zirconia is being tested more thoroughly and growing progressively more appreciated.
It is strong, also biocompatible, and can be processed with an optical & esthetic rendering almost identical to real teeth. This mimetic effect helps zirconia-based implants blend in naturally alongside your remaining teeth and gum tissue. Another major difference from titanium is that zirconia implants combine the materials for both the abutment and post into a single unit. This has the advantage of reducing hidden bacteria that may otherwise affect your gums.
Remember, not every type of implant is equally effective for every patient that gets one. All cases differ to some degree, and different mouths may react to certain materials in different ways. The bone in one mouth might not integrate with one implant as well as another patient’s bone would, for instance. This is why it’s important that you know all your options and discuss with us which material is the best fit beforehand.
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