It is undeniable that the introduction of dental implants for single or multiple-tooth replacement has improved the quality of life for countless patients. At Lincoln Family Dentistry, we want to provide you with the proper education, so you can make great decisions about your oral health. In our article we’ll cover:
-What materials do they use in dental implants? We’ll explain alternatives!
Removable prostheses such as partial dentures, or a fixed prostheses like traditional bridgework, are prone to fracture or recurrent decay. These were once the only viable options for patients who lost one or more teeth. Today, we are able to give patients fully functional and aesthetically beautiful results. What’s even better, is that these results come with a very high, long-term success rate.
Due to the high success rates and relatively low risk of allergy or complications, titanium has been the primary material used for implant posts. Titanium has and still does have a very high biocompatibility rating as well as great results in osseointegration after implant placement. Unfortunately for some patients, titanium is not an option due to metal sensitivity or allergies. For those who have metal allergies, it is advisable to have MELISA testing prior to surgery. To be sure they do not have an allergy to titanium.
MELISA testing (Memory Lymphocyte Immunostimulation Assay) is a type of test that uses a blood sample to test for various allergies. This includes a titanium allergy. A titanium allergy is not common. Approximately only 4% of subjects tested, have positive results. For those who do have a titanium allergy, the release of particles during corrosion, can cause the body’s immune system to attack. This can contribute to a cascade effect on the rest of the body. The MELISA test is scientifically proven and will diagnose a titanium allergy. In addition, it can determine the severity of the allergic response.
Your Lincoln Dentist answers that it is important to note that for the vast majority of patients, titanium dental implants are a viable option. For those few who have metal allergies, there are alternative options available.
Alternative Implant Materials
Your Lincoln Dentist answers
Due to its strength, high level of biocompatibility and excellent results in osseointegration, titanium remains the top choice for the vast majority of patients. However, modern improvements in zirconia and ceramic dental implants have made them legitimate treatment options for patients who wish to replace their teeth with dental implants but have metal sensitivity. Patients do need to be aware that Zirconia implants do have metal but in lesser amounts than titanium implants.
As an alternative material to titanium, with regard to dental implants, zirconia implants with a roughened surface are preferable due to superior osseointegration. There have been no differences display when examining the osseointegration of a surface treated zirconia implant vs titanium implant. Your Lincoln Dentist answers another benefit to a zirconia implant over a titanium implant is the translucent appearance which lends a more natural look, especially when replacing front teeth.
In general, titanium is still preferred over zirconia because of the strength of the material. Unfortunately, there is still a limited amount of research on this topic. There are a few factors that can influence zirconia implant failure rates. In general, research supports that a one-piece zirconia implant is preferable to a two-piece zirconia implant. Two-piece zirconia implants have been shown to be weaker and more likely to fracture or crack. The manner in which the material is processed in the lab can influence the aging factors as well as the osseointegration potential of the material. Post-placement polishing that can heat the material up can also accelerate the aging of the material, leading to the breakdown and failure of zirconia implants.
At this point, we do not have the same kind of research for the success rate of zirconia dental implants. With ever-advancing techniques in dental implant design, more alternative materials are available. Which, is great for patients who may not feel comfortable with titanium as the only option.
Zirconia has been known to allow less plaque formation. This is in comparison to titanium implants, which can fail due to peri-implantitis or mucositis. Both of these dental concerns stem from the overgrowth of specific pathogenic bacteria associated with periodontal disease. Titanium implants can initiate an inflammatory response from the inevitable corrosion of the metal. Corrosion releases titanium particles that interact with the immune system. Zirconia implants, however, pose no such threat to the immune response.
In general, titanium is still preferred over zirconia because of the strength of the material. Unfortunately, there is still a limited amount of research on this topic. There are a few factors that can influence zirconia implant failure rates. In general, research supports that a one-piece zirconia implant is preferable to a two-piece zirconia implant. Two-piece zirconia implants have been shown to be weaker and more likely to fracture or crack. The manner in which the material is processed in the lab can influence the aging factors. In addition, it can influence the osseointegration potential of the material. Also, post-placement polishing can heat up the material, accelerating the aging process. Thus, leading to the breakdown and failure of zirconia implants.
So, it is better to have a Titanium or Zirconia implant?
Your Lincoln Dentist Answers . . .
- Zirconia implants cost $4,000 in comparison to $1,800 for Titanium implant.
- The research does not have enough data on the longevity of Zirconia and its health effects.
- Zirconia implants could be a better choice for highly aesthetic areas. But, for health concerns, the research findings are not yet clear.
If patients are concerned about the health effects of dental implants, there are choices. If you have concerns about a “titanium dental implant near me,” choosing to do a ceramic bridge or biocompatible partial, could be better options.
Lincoln Family Dentistry offers quality, affordable dentistry with compassionate care. If you are concerned about cost of any treatment, we offer payment plans, just ask one of our team members. We believe everyone deserves to smile!
The information on this page was written by Dr. Brooke Kittell.
This gentle Lincoln, NE dentists says: “I saw a lot of different dental specialists when I was young. My orthodontist changed my life by giving me the smile I am remembered by today. I love people, art, and making an impact. Once I discovered the potential impact a confident smile can make in someone’s life, dentistry became the only career that would allow me to maximize my creative skills while fulfilling my drive for helping others. Dentistry is about so much more than teeth, and the world is finally starting to acknowledge this. I am so excited to incorporate my background in Nutrition Science and my passion for overall well-being to provide the next level of care for my patients.”
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