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Dental implants are an effective and popular way to replace missing teeth. Titanium is the most common type of dental implant using a metal screw to take the place of the tooth root. Crowns, predominantly of ceramic material, are constructed and placed on the implant abutment. Although the data show that the difference between metal and non-metal based implant performance is negligible, many find that they are uncomfortable with utilizing metal-based materials. Each type of implant has its own unique benefits, so it’s important to understand which type might be best for your dental needs. Should titanium not be the preferred option, ceramic or zirconia implants are an effective alternative and are available and used frequently for clients at Living Wellness Dental Dorchester.
For most clients, getting dental implants is a significant step toward bettering their oral health, and we understand that they want to do the best thing for their bodies. Let’s discuss some of the different types of dental implant options.
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots in the form of a screw that are capped with a ceramic dental crown. An abutment connects the crown (replacement tooth) to the implant. Implants serve as an effective alternative to dentures or bridges, providing a permanent and stable solution for missing teeth, while serving to improve the appearance and function of the oral system. When deciding on how you might proceed with an implant it is wise to consider the various options.
By and large, the most common type of dental implant makes use of a metal screw, more specifically, titanium. Titanium is a strong, lightweight and durable metal that is usually biocompatible with the human body. Metal implants are generally considered to be very safe and effective as demonstrated by the fact that they are used widely in many medical surgeries.
Metal implants can withstand high loads and are well-suited for cases where a lot of chewing force is expected. Many opt for titanium implants on molar teeth where aesthetics are not as critical as function.
Titanium dental implants have a long-term success rate of about 90-95%. Some patients’ titanium dental implants have been in excellent condition for more than 30 years.
One potential downside of titanium implants is their unnatural colour. The silver-coloured abutment and screw may become visible at the margins of the crown and the gumline where recession occurs. Additionally, in the case of more noticeable anterior teeth, the metal colour can become visible through the semi-translucent crown especially where sunlight is present.
In rare cases, titanium dental implants may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. If you have a history of metal allergies, Living Wellness Dental Dorchester can assist you with performing a sensitivities test before undergoing the implant procedure. This test will identify your specific range of tolerance to various products used in dentistry and can isolate the products that represent the greatest likelihood of success for your implant procedure.
Although titanium implants will not rust, they can deteriorate and corrode, in rare cases depositing alloy particles or ions in the surrounding tissues. New studies are investigating the possible negative effects that titanium-based implants may have on their hosts including bone or soft tissue inflammation, bone loss, or both.
One of Earth’s great treasures and natural wonders is the variety, diversity and individuality of humanity. There are many who have sensitivities to metals and chemicals commonly used in dentistry. Fortunately, there are alternatives for those who seek implant products that are potentially more biocompatible with their system’s needs. Zirconia, although technically a metal, is a type of material that is similar to diamonds and has been used for dental implants by Living Wellness Dental Dorchester for years. It’s made from zirconium, which is treated and converted into a crystal-like form, sometimes referred to as ceramic. Hence, zirconia implants are viewed widely as a “metal free” option.
The health of our jaw and strength of our bite improves our ability to eat and chew our food. Weakness and potential deterioration of the jaw bone may occur when teeth are missing from extractions or other trauma. Replacing missing teeth with dental implants re-introduces a root-like system back into the jaw bone providing the stimulation that maintains jaw bone health and vitality.
Of course one of the keys to achieving long-term tooth stability and jaw bone health is having roots integrated into bone structure in a process called osseointegration. Zirconia implants are time-tested and are proven to perform admirably the function of a strong stable tooth root.
Zirconia dental implants are made of a white ceramic material that closely resembles the colour of natural teeth. Thus, a zirconia implant is often preferable for those who value aesthetics over function. These implants are very popular for clients needing help with their anterior (front) teeth. The natural, subtle colour of a zirconia implant allows a polished crown to better integrate into a natural smile.
Some studies on biomaterial in implantology have shown that zirconia implants are highly biocompatible, integrate well with bone and gum tissue, and have a tendency to reduce plaque build up.
Zirconia implants may not be suitable for certain cases where a higher load-bearing capacity is needed. Although very strong and capable, you should consult with your dentist to ensure that zirconia will meet the intended primary use. Additionally, zirconia implants, on average, are slightly more expensive than their titanium counterparts so it is wise to discuss costs up front with your clinicians during pre-procedural consultations. Titanium may be a preferable option in certain situations.
Zirconia and metal dental implants are both excellent options for replacing missing teeth. Ultimately, the best type of dental implant for you will depend on your individual values, objectives, and circumstances. Whatever the case, Living Wellness Dental Dorchester is more than capable of helping you determine which type is most appropriate for your case. To learn more or to begin your pathway towards the implant solution that is right for you, just book an appointment with us!
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