When patients hear the term zirconium, many of them associate it with cubic zirconium, the popular crystal used in a variety of jewelry settings. Zirconium, while not the same chemical makeup as the jewel, is in a similar family. Many dental health professionals and researchers are finding zirconium is becoming an excellent alternative to titanium dental implants. This is due to its high durability and low metal content. Titanium has proven to be a great resource for dental implants since the 1950s, when an orthopedic surgeon discovered its incredible ability to fuse to bone.
However, researchers were still searching for another similar material that could offer a solution to some of the aesthetic and health concerns some patients were having. It is still fairly new to the dental world, but so far zirconium implants are proving to be a wonderful contender for dental implants.
Zirconium is a material that can be comparable to steel but has little to no metal content found within in it. Zirconium oxide (also known as zirconia) is a ceramic that fuses to the jawbone similar to titanium. In fact, it has been nicknamed ceramic steel due to its durability and resistance to corrosion. Additionally, zirconia is lighter in both weight and color than titanium, making it a good choice for patients who are concerned about the metal showing through their gums.
Zirconium oxide first made its appearance in 2005 in Europe when a company known as CeraRoot introduced its fully ceramic implant. By 2011, it has become FDA approved for use in the USA. Since then, it has been used increasingly in place of titanium for dental implants throughout Europe, Canada, the USA, and more.
Photo Courtesy of CeraRoot
Your smile is your best accessory, so it is no surprise that dental implants are an excellent solution for anyone who wishes to replace any missing teeth in their smile. Unlike dentures, dental implants offer a permanent solution to restore teeth that have fallen out or been removed. For many decades, titanium was favored for dental implants due to its high ability to osseointergate with the bone.
However, zirconium has been found to fuse to the bone just as effectively as titanium, as long as they are properly implanted. A major benefit of zirconium oxide implants is that, since it is a ceramic, it will not corrode, as metals are prone to do. Additionally, it is comprised of one entire piece instead of two, which means there are no hard-to-reach connecting areas where harmful bacteria can develop.
Plus, zirconium ceramic implants are completely white, which means they blend much more naturally under the gum and are virtually invisible to anyone but your dentist! Overall, it offers a more natural, metal-free implant for patients who have sensitivities or are just uncomfortable with titanium implants.
Smile! It’s your best accessory.
Despite having just been introduced to the American dental world, European company CeraRoot has been advocating the use of zirconia implants for a number of years. Studies are still being conducted, but current research has show that implants made of zirconium oxide show optimal osseointergration with little to no sign of inflammation or body rejection. These implants are also hypoallergenic, unlike their titanium counterparts. Again, because metal is susceptible to corrosion, it can cause rashes and swelling in some patients.
Another reason many scientist and researchers are applauding zirconium implants is their non-conductivity. Basically, since they do not conduct electricity like metal implants would, it creates a healthier oral environment.
Dental implants made of zirconia are a great option for anyone who practices holistic medicine, is concerned about the appearance of metal in their gums, or is uncomfortable or unable to have mental implants secured in their mouth. If you are interested in learning more about dental implants, feel free to contact our Cooper City office at (954) 252-1390!