INFORMATION ABOUT ZIRCONIA IMPLANTS
Dental implants have been a topic for discussion for at least 30 years. I have watched this discussion with a great deal of interest over this period of time but did not feel compelled to provide this service. From my perspective the material i.e. Titanium was suspect and therefore did not feel it was an appropriate field for me to involve myself in.
Over the last ten years I used a material called Zirconia (an oxide of zirconium) for crowns and bridges and was very impressed with the energetic response that I witnessed patients having. I was also aware that this material was being used in Europe and Australia for dental implants for the last ten years. Even as I was inquiring of the FDA about using this material in the US they approved Zirconia as a dental implant material. Hence I am happy to announce that our office is now offering this service.
The advantage of an implant over a bridge is one of preserving tooth structure, the health of the involved teeth and improving the bite relationship with the teeth involved. In trying to restore form and function with a bridge, one is forced to cut down tooth structure, on either side of the missing tooth (pontic), thereby endangering the health of the teeth involved whenever one intrudes on the enamel of a tooth, it can endanger the tooth. In a bridge, one is forced to do so to anchor the bridge to adjoining teeth. This has always been a challenge dentists have faced. An implant on the other hand only involves the bone of the space of the missing tooth, and does not involve the teeth on either side of the space of the missing tooth. Another advantage is that using an implant enables you to restore the bite where there is no tooth posterior to the space involved.
The challenge with implants thus far and why I had refrained from doing them was that they were only offered in Titanium. I had a metal free practice, and have seen too many cases where the patient reacted to it, such that their body could not accept the material (Titanium).
Why Zirconia Implants?
While Zirconium is a metal, these implants are made from an oxide, rendering it more like a ceramic.
The Titanium implants I have removed are generally covered with a black “plaque”. This is bacteria. This material, in fact invites bacterial formation on its surface. When placing titanium implants, it is often suggested they follow a routine of anti-biotics for three months to inhibit this plaque formation. In spite of this anti-biotic routine, many of the Titanium implants still attract plaque formation. Zirconia on the other hand has no such tendencies in the literature, and if proper protocol is used, i.e. eliminating cavitations and removal of other metals, at least on that side of the mouth, it greatly increases the success rate of Zirconia implants. The material itself is very strong and according to my European counter-parts seems to have very good durability.
Advantages of Zirconia Implants:
- Zirconia is a more natural approach
- This process guarantees that you never come in contact with metal in all stages of the work.
- Because of their rough surface texture, Zirconium implants grow very well together with the jaw bone.
- Zirconia Implants are excellently compatible biologically and are tolerated well by the gums.
- They are Metal Free,
- Zirconia Implants are considered more durable than Titanium
- They are brilliant white and give a natural look
- They allow very good regeneration of the gums and generally do not get the bacterial build up.
- Most often there is no need to be on anti-biotics for two or three months.
- For perfect aesthetics only the real tooth is more natural.
- Zirconium implants are made from high performance zirconium oxide ceramic.
NOTE: It is important to remember that each individual is unique in how their body might respond to various procedures. Please discuss this with your dentist.
What is involved in getting a Zirconia Implant?
To get an implant, several steps are required to assure that your body is accepting the implant and to give your body the optimal opportunity to heal and biologically accept it.
Barring exceptions, usually getting an implant spans over 3-6 months and involves multiple office visits. Your dentist will explain these to you during your initial evaluation, should you be a suitable candidate for a Zirconia Implant.