If you are considering dental implants but don’t like the thought of a metal implant, Rice Dentistry is proud to offer metal-free zirconia implants. These implants give you the ability to have dental implants that are biocompatible with your bone and gums, without metal.
And now a new review of the technique shows that zirconia implants may also reduce your risk of peri-implantitis.
Numerous Studies Show Good Performance
Many people are concerned that zirconia implants may not be as durable as titanium dental implants. However, most studies show that zirconia dental implants have good performance that is comparable to titanium implants. The failure rates for zirconia implants are slightly higher, but many direct comparisons between the implants in terms of integration and early failure show that there’s no significant difference between the two approaches.
Zirconia is essentially as strong as titanium in terms of raw strength. However, the materials behave differently under extreme stress, with zirconia more likely to crack and titanium more likely to bend or flex. This can make them more likely to break over time.
Resistance to Peri-Implantitis
However, if zirconia implants are more vulnerable to mechanical failure, they’re probably more resistant to the leading cause of dental implant failure: peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is gum disease that affects your dental implants.
Numerous studies showed that zirconia implants may be more resistant to gum disease. That’s because zirconia implants are more friendly to your gum tissue. Titanium is very friendly to the bone tissue, but it can be hard to get gum tissue to heal right up around the implant. With zirconia this is easier, which creates a healthier environment that can trap out bacteria and therefore infection.
The surface of zirconia implants are also less friendly for oral bacteria. Even if they manage to get up against the implant, they’re more likely to slide off and less likely to form a biofilm.
A Call for Screws
The review identified one major technical challenge facing zirconia implants: screw-retained restorations. Having restorations that hold on with screws is useful because it means they are both secure when in use and easily removable for servicing. Titanium implants work well with screw-retained restorations, but zirconia is not a good material for screws, as the tendency to crack becomes exacerbated by the forces of a screw.
Not Ready for the Starting Spot
This study shows that zirconia implants are a great alternative to more common titanium implants. But they’re probably not ready to take over as the primary material for dental implants. To get to that point, we’ll have to see more long-term studies and solve some additional technical challenges.
If you are considering dental implants and want to learn which is the best for you, please call (949) 551-5902 today for an appointment with an Orange County implant dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.