What Are Zirconium Implants?
The earliest modern dental implants emerged from the discovery that titanium fuses with bone tissue. That finding allowed scientists to develop screw-like structures that integrated with the jaw bone and served as replacement tooth roots, holding crowns or even dentures to fill in gaps left behind by missing teeth. Titanium dental implants have now been in use for over 40 years and have proven to be an incredibly successful long-term treatment modality.
More recently, implant dentistry has expanded to include devices made from materials other than titanium, such as zirconium. This material, in an oxide form, was first used in hip replacements in the 1970s. This use was a precursor to other purposes for this material. Zirconium dental implants have recently become available in New Zealand.
Some patients prefer zirconium because of some of the material’s specific characteristics. First of all, zirconium is white, which makes it look more like a natural tooth root than a titanium implant. Furthermore, zirconium can be used in patients with metal allergies who may have problems with titanium.
On the downside, zirconium implants are quite limited in their application and unsuitable for many situations. Their newness on the market also means that their long-term success rate (i.e. over 10 years) is unknown. Zirconium implants are also more expensive than those made from titanium.
If you are considering zirconium implants, please feel free to contact us to discuss their potential advantages and disadvantages with you.