Dental Implant Material: Understanding Titanium and Ceramic Options
Last updated Thursday, August 31st, 2023
How to Choose the Right Implant Material to Reclaim Your Perfect Smile
50% of Americans are missing at least one tooth.
Dental implants are the only solution that guarantees a nearly 100% success rate for permanently solving this problem. They can fix the damage from severe tooth decay, infections, accidents, or periodontal disease.
A crown only protects the surface of the teeth, but an implant protects the structure of your tooth. It supports your jawbone, gum tissue, and adjacent teeth, which keeps the whole area around your implant healthy. It allows you to upgrade to permanent dentures with stronger bite power, which needs minimal maintenance.
A dental implant is the closest you can come to recovering your natural tooth – functionally and aesthetically. What makes it so strong and long-lasting? It depends on what it’s made of. Dental materials have come a long way over the last few decades. They have played a huge role in the success and safety rate of dental implants.
In this article, we’ll help you pick the best dental implant material based on your needs.
Types of Dental Implant Materials
Here are two of the most popular dental implant materials:
- Titanium Dental Implants – Titanium implants have been tried and tested over the last 20-30 years. They have the highest biocompatibility out of any metallic components. They are cost-effective, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant, which makes them ideal for most patients.
- Ceramic Dental Implants – Ceramic materials like Zirconia are promising modern alternatives to Titanium implants. A ceramic material contains both metallic and non-metallic elements. They offer excellent biocompatibility and corrosion resistance. They are highly durable but are more expensive than Titanium implants.
Titanium Dental Implants
Here are some important advantages of Titanium dental implants you should know about:
- Proven history – Titanium implants have been around since the 1960s. There’s a huge body of scientific evidence to prove their short-term and long-term effectiveness.
- High biocompatibility – It easily integrates with your jawbone and gum tissue without causing any infections.
- Durability and longevity – Titanium is highly resistant to most chemicals and mechanical forces. So it’s not going to be damaged by what you eat or drink at all. It actually makes your tooth root stronger than ever and increases your bite force by over 90 percent.
- Cost-effectiveness – Most Titanium implants are approximately $500 cheaper than ceramic implants. It can save you a lot of money if you need multiple implants.
Here are the biggest disadvantages and risks of using Titanium dental implants:
- Body’s aversion to Titanium – Some patients may develop an allergic reaction to Titanium in rare cases. You may end up facing inflammation or bleeding around the implant site. It can trigger erythema, urticaria, eczema, swelling, pain, necrosis, and bone loss. If you don’t treat it on time, it can worsen and force you to get the implant removed. So it’s important to get tested for metal allergies before getting this procedure.
- Cosmetic concerns – Titanium implants aren’t easily visible once you’ve installed a crown on top. But some people prefer the more ceramic implants that blend with the color of the crowns.
Zirconia Dental Implants
Here are some important advantages of Zirconia dental implants you should know about:
- Strong and corrosion-resistant – They are as strong as Titanium implants, but even more corrosion-resistant than them when exposed to wet environments.
- Aesthetics and natural appearance – Titanium implants often end up discoloring your gums leaving a silver tint around the implant site. Zirconia implants blend perfectly with your crowns and don’t cause any gum tissue discoloration. You don’t feel any metallic taste in your mouth, unlike Titanium implants. So ceramic implants look and feel closer to the real thing.
- Hypoallergenic properties – There are no chances of you developing any allergic reaction due to Zirconia. It has a slightly higher success rate than Titanium implants.
Here are the biggest disadvantages and risks of using Zirconia dental implants:
Expensive – Each Zirconia implant costs around $500 more than a Titanium implant. This makes it more challenging to get your treatment covered by your insurance provider. They have a higher manufacturing cost and are not as widely used by dentists as Titanium implants.
- Inflexibility in placement – Most Zirconia implants have a one-piece design that limits their flexibility. This creates obstacles during the implant placement and restoration design. They are also weaker and may fracture if used to support a full arch denture or bridge.
Comparison Between Ceramic and Titanium Implants
Both Zirconia and Titanium implants have proven their durability and longevity. They have nearly the same success rates and last between 15-20 years due to their high biocompatibility. Ceramic implants may have a little bit of the edge because they’re essentially allergy-proof.
Dental and ceramic implants can be used to treat the same kinds of health issues. It’s mainly the cost and aesthetics that ends up being the decision maker for most patients.
Dr. Mansoor will help you pick the most affordable and holistic option based on your needs and comfort.
Not everyone is healthy or comfortable enough to get a dental implant. Some patients may have low jawbone density and require bone grafting surgery before getting an implant. A small-diameter implant could be the perfect alternative. It’s a minimally invasive procedure. You’ll enjoy a fast recovery with faster results reflected in your restored smile.
Zirconia implant costs will quickly add up when you have to fix multiple teeth by undergoing full mouth rehabilitation. It’s better to stick to the cheaper Titanium implants for extensive dental restoration work.
Choosing the Best Dental Implant Material
An experienced dentist knows personalized solutions are the secret to effective treatment. We’ll include you in every step of our decision-making process and address all your concerns.
Here are some important factors Dr. Mansoor evaluates before picking the right implant material for you:
- Your dental health and existing conditions
- Aesthetics and natural appearance you’re aiming for
- Functionality and longevity
- Your budget and insurance coverage
Frequently Asked Questions
What are dental implants, and why are they important in tooth replacement?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that provides a strong and stable foundation for the crown that will be fixed on top of it. It supports your jawbone, gum tissue, and adjacent teeth to provide a durable and long-lasting solution.
What are the primary types of dental implant materials, and how do they differ?
Here are the two primary types of dental implant materials:
- Titanium implants made up of pure titanium or an alloy
- Ceramic implants made up of metals and non-metals
What are the advantages of titanium dental implants, and why have they been widely used?
Here are the main advantages of titanium dental implants:
- Widely available because they’re cheaper to manufacture and more in demand
- More affordable than ceramic implants
- Highly biocompatible
- High longevity and durability
Are there any risks or potential issues with titanium dental implants, especially related to allergies or cosmetics?
The two biggest disadvantages of Titanium dental implants are:
- Risk of allergic reactions – There are rare cases of patients with metal allergies developing infections or inflammations at the implant sites. It can cause erythema, urticaria, eczema, swelling, pain, necrosis, and bone loss.
- Gum discoloration – Titanium implants may cause silvery discoloration in your gums around the implant site.
How do zirconia dental implants compare to titanium implants in terms of aesthetics and biocompatibility?
There’s not much difference between the biocompatibility of Titanium and Zirconia dental implants. However, there is a larger body of scientific evidence behind Titanium implants to back up their safety claims.
Zirconia implants do have the edge in terms of aesthetics. Both your implant and crown look the same and will look more natural than Titanium implants.
What factors should I consider when choosing between ceramic and titanium dental implants?
Here are some important factors to consider while choosing between ceramic and titanium dental implants:
- Your oral health and overall health
- Dental aesthetics and natural appearance
- Functionality and durability
- Your budget and insurance coverage
What are the potential challenges or limitations associated with zirconia dental implants
Zirconia implants are more expensive and difficult to get insurance coverage for. It can slow down your treatment plan until you sort it out. Their one-piece design also creates difficulties while placing the implant and during restoration design.
What role does a personalized consultation with dental implant experts play in making an informed decision?
When it comes to your dental needs and experience, we want to make you a partner in your journey to reclaim your perfect smile.
Personalized treatment is the best treatment. And our team cares about getting to know your comforts and fears as much as we care about diagnosing and treating your problem. This helps us raise the bar to give every patient a picture-perfect smile that comes from their heart.
Are there any considerations for small-diameter implant needs or full-mouth rehabilitation cases?
Some patients don’t have adequate jawbone density or overall health to undergo an implant surgery safely. Small-diameter implants are a great substitute in cases like this. The procedure is minimally invasive and offers a quick recovery period.
Full-mouth rehabilitation cases require you to get multiple implants, which can really squeeze your wallet tightly. You can opt for Titanium dental implants to cut costs without compromising your treatment quality.
How do dental implants align with holistic dentistry principles and patient wellness?
Holistic dentistry values prevention as much as treatment. A compassionate dentist will aim to treat the problem from the roots and leave no room for side effects to trouble their patients.
Dental implants are highly successful because they align with these holistic dentistry principles. They are basically new tooth roots that preserve the integrity of your jawbone, gum tissue, crown, and adjacent teeth. It creates a reliable support system for the whole area around the implant site.