What are the best types of dental implants?
Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth, improve your oral health, and restore your chewing ability for better digestion and nutritional intake. The two best types of bio-safe dental implants currently on offer in Australia are titanium and zirconia (ceramic-based) implants. Both types have their own unique properties. Let’s take a look at each one.
Types of dental implants
- Titanium implants
Titanium (and titanium alloys) are tried and tested dental implant materials, and are the most popular, reliable choice of implant for millions of patients. Titanium is biocompatible and bio-safe making it suitable for the human body, with low levels of toxicity and allergic potential, as well as being extremely corrosion resistant.
Additionally, titanium implants fuse extremely well with your jaw bone (termed “osseointegration”), providing a strong, stable and inseparable foundation for crowns, implant-supported bridges and dentures.
It’s worth noting that the very first titanium implants placed in a patient’s jaw by Swedish implant pioneer Dr Per–Ingvar Branemark in 1965, remained intact until the patient died naturally in 2006 – a clear testament to the success of Dr Branemark’s treatment.
Titanium implants usually come as a two-part system (utilising a post and abutment), allowing for better customisation – especially for patients with low bone defiencies.
- Zirconia (ceramic-based) implants
Zirconia implants are a more recent innovation in dental implant technology, and were first introduced as a “metal free” alternative to titanium implants due to higher incidences of titanium allergies. Despite initial problems with fracturing – involving earlier versions of zirconia implants – they have since earned their place as an excellent dental implant option.
Nowadays, zirconia-based implants are super tough and reliable, having been compared to diamonds. They even look like natural teeth roots aesthetically, so they blend in almost seamlessly with surrounding teeth and gum tissue.
Zirconia has osseointegration properties to match titanium, and is biocompatible and bio-safe with no documented cases of allergic reaction.
Another benefit of zirconia implants is that they utilise a single component system, reducing the potential for bacterial colonisation affecting the gums. Clinical studies have also shown a higher incidence of bacterial biofilm formation on cast titanium implants over machined titanium and zirconia implants.
In conclusion, zirconia implants don’t seem to be fully appreciated at large…yet. However, with further advances in technological development, they seem set to overtake titanium implants as the gold standard in oral implantology.
Nascimento, Cássio & Pita, Murillo & Fernandes, Flávio & Pedrazzi, Vinicius & Junior, Rubens & Ribeiro, Ricardo. (2014). Bacterial adhesion on the titanium and zirconia abutment surfaces. Clinical oral implants research. 25. 343. 10.1111/clr.12093.
Cionca, N., Hashim, D., & Mombelli, A. (2016). Zirconia dental implants: where are we now, and where are we heading? Periodontology 2000, 73(1), 241–258. doi: 10.1111/prd.12180