Differences between Zirconia and Titanium Implants

Differences between Zirconia and Titanium Implants

June 1, 2023

Losing natural teeth can significantly impact your bite function, speech, jawbone health, oral appearance, and self-confidence. For this reason, dental experts will always recommend replacing your lost teeth as soon as possible. You should consider dental implants if you’re looking for the closest restoration to your natural teeth.

Dental implants offer incredible stability, strength, and durability for patients with missing teeth. Usually, two primary materials make dental implants: titanium and zirconia. While both materials are strong and durable, each has advantages and disadvantages. This guide highlights the key properties of zirconia and titanium implants. Visit our dental office for dental implants near you.

 

The Difference between Titanium vs. Zirconia Dental Implants

Below are key factors to consider when selecting between zirconia and titanium implants:

  • Material properties

Titanium is the oldest material for making dental implants, dating back to the 1960s. Titanium is a biocompatible silver color metal used in medical space for decades, especially for knee and hip replacement. It’s very strong, lightweight, and resistant to corrosion. It forms a passive oxide layer on the surface when exposed to air to prevent corrosion. The oxide layer also promotes the implant and bone-fusing processes to ensure stability and longevity.

Zirconia or zirconium oxide is a relatively newer alternative to titanium implants. It’s made from hard ceramic and used for dental implants and other restorations like crowns and bridges. Like titanium, it’s biocompatible, strong, durable, and promotes osseointegration, making it excellent for implant application.

  • Aesthetics

Aesthetics is a crucial consideration when choosing dental restoration materials. While titanium is common for implants, it has potential drawbacks in terms of aesthetics due to its metallic color. When placed near the gum line, particularly when a patient has a thin bone or thin or receding gums, the metal is exposed, resulting in poor aesthetics.

In terms of aesthetics, zirconia is a better option. Zirconia is tooth-colored and closely matches the color of your natural teeth. It’s unlikely to cause an esthetic problem even when exposed. It could particularly benefit patients with thin bones, gums, or high aesthetic demands.

  • Allergic reaction

Although metallic, titanium is highly biocompatible with an extremely low risk of causing metal allergies. While rare, patients who are highly sensitive to metals may experience side effects like swelling, inflammation, and itching around the implant site.

Zirconia is made from a hard hypoallergenic, metal-free ceramic material, making the risk of allergic reactions significantly minimal. It is an ideal option for patients highly sensitive to titanium and other metal alloys restorations.

  • Design

Titanium dental implants are two-piece systems, the implant body, which is inserted into the jawbone, and the abutment, which connects the implant body to the dental prosthesis (crown, denture, or bridge). This design allows for greater flexibility in the restoration process. It mainly benefits people with high aesthetic demands or complex anatomical requirements.

Zirconia implants are often a one-piece design but are also available in two-piece designs. The one-piece design means that the implant body and abutment are connected.

  • Osseointegration

Both titanium and zirconia are biocompatible. When inserted into the jawbone, they fuse with it during osseointegration. This process takes about 3 – 6 months, based on oral health and bone density. After osseointegration, the implants function like your natural tooth’s roots.

When comparing titanium and zirconia implants, titanium has a long history of clinical success and success rates above 90%. However, zirconia implants have a shorter history of clinical use. Thus, their long-term success is limited.

  • Strength

Since titanium is metallic, it’s relatively stronger and more damage-resistant than zirconia and other metals. While zirconia is strong and very hard, they aren’t resistant to breakage like metals. Therefore, titanium implants are better than zirconia implants in terms of strength.

  • Durability

Thanks to the long history of titanium implants, their strength and durability have been tested and proven. With proper care, titanium implants can last for more than 20 years. Unfortunately, zirconia implants don’t have a long clinical history, and thus it will take time to understand their long-term success and durability.

Learn more about dental implants in Canton.

Are you interested in dental implants for missing teeth? Or would you like to learn more about titanium and zirconia implants? Contact Danner Dental to book your consultation with our dentist in Canton, OH.

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