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Dental Implant Materials
Dental implants are an incredible treatment designed to replace missing teeth. Providing you with a revolutionary alternative to bridges and dentures, implants use posts that are surgically implanted into your jawbone to support your dental restorations. Dental implants provide several major benefits over traditional treatments, including greater comfort, ease of care, and protecting the health and shape of your jawbone. At Optimum Oral Surgery Group, we provide dental implants to meet numerous tooth replacement needs. A majority of dental implants that are placed are made from titanium. While a highly effective and successful material, it is not for everyone. This has sparked research into alternative materials.
Titanium Dental Implants
Titanium is the material originally used for modern-day dental implants and makes up a majority of implants placed today. Its use is the result of an accidental discovery made in the 1950s. A Swedish orthopedic surgeon by the name of Per-Ingvar Brånemark was researching bone healing and regeneration when he found that bone fused to a titanium cylinder implanted into the femur of a rabbit. This discovery spurred further research that eventually led to the development of implants.
Over the years, further research has been conducted on titanium, and many improvements have been made. These improvements have greatly increased the stability and success of implants. For example, the first implants were made entirely of titanium. This material proved to be too soft, so additional metals were added, creating a titanium alloy. Titanium alloy greatly improved the strength of dental implants as well as their stability. Titanium dental implants today have a success rate of 98%.
Zirconia Dental Implants
While titanium implants are incredibly successful, they still pose some issues for some patients. Patients with allergies to metal may not be good candidates for implants. Other patients may not be fond of the idea of placing metal in their jaws. These concerns sparked research into the search for alternative materials. Research eventually led to the discovery of zirconium oxide, simply called zirconia implants.
Zirconia implants are considered to be a metal-free implant. They are often referred to as ceramic implants due to their color. Despite being considered metal-free, these implants do contain trace amounts of metal, which are required for strength. Your bone fuses to this material just as it fuses to titanium, integrating into your jaw to become the stable root needed to support your dental restorations.
Which Material is Best?
Titanium and zirconia are both biocompatible materials, meaning that they generally do not irritate the body. Implants made from these materials can be integrated into the jaw so that the posts can become secure, stable posts for your dental restorations. However, which material is the best?
Titanium implants have been around since the 1950s. This material has decades of research and development behind it and is both well understood and predictable. These types of implants are also available in one-piece and two-piece implants. Two-piece implants allow us to place an implant post at an angle or off-center while still ensuring that your dental restorations are in perfect alignment. With two-piece implants, we are able to take full advantage of your existing jawbone to ensure proper osseointegration and maximum stability.
Zirconia implants are newer. There is not as much research behind them. However, one of the biggest advantages of these implants is that the posts, like the crowns, are tooth-colored. In the event of gum recession or thin gums, the post looks just like the root of a natural tooth. This helps with aesthetic issues of a silver-colored post. Currently, however, zirconia implants are only available as one-piece implants. This means that they have to be placed precisely to ensure success.
If you are interested in learning more about the different implant materials, and to find out if dental implants are the right option for you, call Optimum Oral Surgery Group at (856) 437-4432 today.