Zirconia Implants: The next step in replacing natural teeth
After more than a decade of use in Europe, the FDA has approved Zirconia implants in the US. This is very exciting technology that has been around since the 1980’s and has a long history of medical use in joint replacement surgery as well as NASA’s use in fabricating the heat shields on the space shuttles.
Although pure Zirconium is technically a metal, based on its location on the periodic table, in Zirconia (the form used for dental implants) its appearance is more similar to a ceramic. Because Zirconia is white, it is more aesthetically pleasing and natural-looking. In fact, Zirconia dental implants are almost visually indistinguishable from a real tooth’s root.
Now dentists have the ability to use Zirconia dental implants to replace the lost dentition in millions of patients who are frustrated with their removable dentures or fixed bridges. As with any dental material there are pro’s and con’s so let’s discuss them.
The Good Stuff
From a Holistic standpoint, it doesn’t get much better than Zirconia. Zirconia is a non-metal substance which is virtually bio-inert and this means our gums and bone accept this material more readily than that of titanium in most cases.
These implants have a success rate that is comparable to titanium implants, lasting many years (depending on an individual’s health and proper attention to hygiene). Zirconia dental implants are a proven safe and effective for a long term replacement of missing teeth.
Things to Consider
Ultimately, placing an inorganic material into our bodies can have drawbacks. For those who are philosophically opposed or physically unable to accept a dental implant than there are always traditional removable and fixed restorations to replace most instances of missing teeth.
Like any dental restoration, an implant’s longevity in the mouth is determined by many factors including: one’s health at any given time and one’s attention to excellent oral hygiene.
The Silver Lining
Fortunately, there are very few instances where a Zirconia dental implant cannot be tolerated. Dental technology and surgical techniques have progressed enormously over the past decade and we as a society can only benefit from the many options we now have to achieve a healthy and happy smile.