At Nashville Restorative Dentistry in Franklin, Tennessee, Drs. Ryan Jones and Caleb Estes offer dental implants to patients seeking the best in tooth replacement options. Dr. Jones is one of the first dentists in the area to offer zirconia implants as a safe, metal-free alternative to the more widely used titanium implants. They are a great option for those who have metal allergies or want an option that is free of metal ions and not grey or dark in appearance.
The most common historical dental implant material is titanium, which dentists have used since the 1960s. NRD still offers this form of dental implant because of some of the unique placement options and restorative benefits it offers as compared to zirconia. So why is an alternative needed in the form of zirconia dental implants? While titanium implants are still the most widely used dental implants, that does not necessarily mean they are risk free. Zirconia implants are an innovative option that offer the following benefits:
A small percentage of people have documented titanium allergies or sensitivities to other metals sometimes used in dental implant alloys. This adds a potential risk to having a metallic implant placed. If you get a titanium implant and then experience a sensitivity reaction or develop an allergy to titanium later, there can be severe complications. From losing the implant entirely to systemic health complications, the risks can be widespread. Zirconia implants do not carry the same material risks as their metallic counterparts and as a superiorly biocompatible option, you will not have a similar ongoing risk of developing side effects or an allergic reaction after the implant has been placed.
Zirconia is bioinert, which means it cannot corrode and migrate to other areas of the body. Titanium unfortunately does not possess this same benefit. Concerning cases are being documented where titanium was found to corrode over time and titanium ions accumulate in other areas of the body.
Osseointegration is the process by which your dental implant physically fuses with the jaw bone into which it has been placed. This is obviously a vital process in allowing a dental implant to be successful. If the implant has trouble integrating with the bone, the implant will be unstable and eventually fail. Thankfully, zirconia has a similar ability to firmly integrate into the bone just as titanium does.
Titanium implants are metallic in appearance and can sometimes show through the thin tissue at the gumline. The dark, grey appearance of the metal implant is hard or impossible to hide if placed in an unideal position or if there is recession that occurs over time. This problem is only made worse if it happens to involve one of your front teeth and is visible in your smile or while talking. Zirconia implants are a bright white color, allowing them to blend in much better and remain mostly inconspicuous.
Issue: Severely compromised remaining natural teeth with multiple areas of decay, failing previous dental work, missing teeth, unaesthetically restored lower front implants, and extremely worn and chipped upper front teeth.
Solution: Through a detailed plan of bone grafting, implant placement, and new crowns on the remaining natural teeth – a dramatic restoration of function and cosmetic appearance was possible.