Titanium is the material most often used in dental implants. It has many benefits: it’s strong, nontoxic, and it integrates completely with the bone of your jaw to form a solid connection that can last a lifetime with proper care.
But there are new materials that can perform this role as well, most prominently zirconia. Zirconia is a ceramic that, when stabilized by yttrium, is even stronger than titanium, and it can be used in the same role as a dental implant. But is this new material better? That’s what a new review set out to determine. The review also compared zirconia restorations (the visible part that goes on top of the implant) to other types of restorations.
The review concluded that the implants themselves weren’t better than titanium, but the restorations could be much better than other options available.
Attractive Implants, but Not Otherwise Better
When people promote zirconia implants, they typically cite a number of potential benefits of using ceramic rather than metal. This includes better biocompatibility with gum tissue and bone, as well as even better integration with your bone. Plus, you might be less likely to be allergic to the ceramic, compared to titanium, which can trigger allergies in about 0.5% of patients.
However, in the words of this review, zirconia demonstrated “no clear superiority,” in these areas. This doesn’t mean it isn’t better, and the author noted that early results “have been promising.” But we need more large and long-term clinical studies to demonstrate the superiority (if it’s real).
However, because zirconia is colored like natural teeth, it might still be a better choice for some people who have thin gums that might allow titanium to show through as a gray patch on the gums.
Restorations Are Better
Where zirconia really improved dental implants is in the restorations. The dental implant is technically the part of the replacement tooth that replaces the roots. The restoration is the visible part that goes on top, a dental crown, bridge, or denture.
Zirconia is a great material for this application. When made completely from zirconia, these restorations had a high survival rate, lower complications, reduced costs, greater wear resistance, and better durability. The restorations also integrate really well with full-digital processes, making them an ideal choice moving forward as more dentists and labs adopt this approach.
Quality Restorations in San Diego
At Irresistible Smiles, we are dedicated to offering our patients the best restorations made from the best available materials, including zirconia.
If you are looking for cosmetic dentistry in the San Diego area that’s attractive, durable, and cost-effective, please call (858) 755-8993 today for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at either the San Diego, Chula Vista, or San Marcos location of Irresistible Smiles.