What are zirconia dental implants?

Outside of dentistry, zirconium oxide ceramic is a material that works well for extrusion dyes, port liners and valves for combustion engines, and other aggressive environments. But at the office of Anne A. Nicholas, DDS, we use zirconium oxide as a stable, biocompatible implant because it has excellent mechanical properties and a high resistance to corrosion.

In addition to being a strong, durable material that replaces your missing teeth, zirconium oxide also has an aesthetic appeal. Its ivory coloring matches that of your natural teeth, and its ability to transmit light also helps to create a more natural look. These factors make zirconia implants an excellent option for restoring the teeth in the front of your mouth. We invite you to call our dentist today if you want to learn more about our zirconia dental implants in Palm Desert, California.

What are the benefits of zirconium oxide ceramic dental implants?

Zirconium oxide ceramic is some of the best material used for the restoration of missing teeth. There are several benefits to using zirconium, including the following:

  • Zirconium oxide has been one of the highest performing ceramics since the 1980s and has also been used for hip joint replacement implants for over 20 years.
  • Zirconia implants are electrically neutral, non-reactive to heavy metals and fluoride, and they are biocompatible. This means no allergic reactions, no sensitivity to temperature, and no impact on taste.
  • The zirconium oxide crown has a friendly gum reaction and its surface repels plaque bacteria. This means that you have better gum health, which reduces your risk for implant failure.
  • Since the zirconium material is white, you will have a more natural tooth replacement than you would with a traditional titanium implant. Even if your gum tissue recedes, the implant won’t reveal an unattractive gray line.
  • A ceramic like zirconium oxide is ideal for patients who dislike having metal in their mouths or for those who are allergic to titanium.

What are the disadvantages of zirconium oxide ceramic dental implants?

One of the disadvantages of zirconium oxide is that it has poor fracture toughness. In order to make the ceramic implant more durable, it is press-manufactured with the proprietary technique of Hot-Isotonic Pressing (HIPping). This system compacts the molecules in order to make the material stronger. However, HIPping also makes the manufacture of zirconium oxide implants ten times more expensive than the manufacture of titanium implants.

Zirconium vs. Titanium

Though zirconium oxide is a ceramic and titanium is a metal, these materials both share many similarities that allow them to have use as artificial tooth roots. For one, they are both part of the same transitional metal family and are some of the only elements that can integrate with the jaw bone. In fact, they both have an equal success rate when used as dental implants. However, there are differences between these materials which may make zirconium oxide a more ideal option. For one, zirconium oxide is white in color, making for a more natural-looking tooth than the traditional titanium implant post could. Additionally, patients who are allergic to titanium will find zirconium oxide an excellent alternative.

Why are zirconium implants one-piece implants?

Traditional titanium implants consist of two pieces, the implant post in the jaw bone and the abutment post which holds the crown. However, the first zirconia implants had a higher risk of fracture when under the strain of heavy chewing forces. This risk was reduced with a one-piece design, so this was the type of zirconia implant that received FDA approval. The modern versions of zirconium oxide implants now have greater fracture toughness and flexural strength than the original ones, making them equal to titanium implants.

Before and After Treatment

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