Patients looking into zirconia dental implants—also known as ceramic dental implants—often make appointments at our practice to learn more. During those visits, we have learned that many have heard myths about zirconia implants.
Here are five common misconceptions about zirconia dental implants.
Myth #1: Zirconia dental implants are the most biocompatible.
Dental implants are medical devices a dentist surgically implants into someone’s jaw to support artificial teeth. Implants can help patients restore their ability to chew their food or for aesthetic reasons.
Zirconia dental implants are non-metal implants that contain the elements zirconia, alumina and yttria. Zirconia, also known as zirconium dioxide, is found naturally in a mineral known as baddeleyite. Dental implants made of zirconia are natural looking, making them ideal for the front teeth. Beyond that, zirconia has stability at high temperatures and strong thermal and corrosion resistance. It is chemically inert and has consistent quality.
Although zirconia is chemically inert, biocompatibility depends on the individual. There is always a chance that a patient may not do well with a particular brand. We use bioenergetic testing to find the right one for each patient, so they don’t have a reaction or an immune system risk 5, 10, or 20 years later.
Myth #2: Zirconia implants don’t block meridians.
When a dentist places an implant, it does block the tooth’s meridian—one of 12 energetic pathways in the body. These 12 pathways include organs, tissues, muscles and bones. A blocked meridian interferes with the energy and flow of information in the body. The energy may redirect itself through other meridians but that can lead to health imbalances. This is one reason your dentist will consider all options before deciding if implants are right for you.
Myth #3: Zirconia implants are better than a root canal.
Dentists typically do root canals when a dental nerve is dead and the dental nerve space within the tooth, called the root canal system, is infected. Tooth extraction and dental implants are one alternative to a root canal. Another alternative is a tooth extraction with a “bridge,” where the dentist joins three or more crowns together.
Whether zirconia implants are “better” than a root canal depends on your individual health profile. On one hand, root canals have some risks. This is because a tooth is an “open” biological system that interacts with the body. Anything placed into the tooth will eventually find its way into the body. It may interact with a susceptible cell or organ.
A root canal seals the inner main nerve trunks of the dental nerve. However, accessory nerves and dental tubules, which are present in all teeth, can still communicate with the body. The dental tubules alone may present a surface area equal to two miles per tooth. Furthermore, the seal at the root apex or tip does not constitute a true ‘hermetic” seal. As a result, a root canal may, under conditions of low resistance, provide passage into the body for bacteria and bacterial toxins.
However, a dental implant can have risks, too. A significant one is that the materials may not be biocompatible. That is true for both titanium metal implants and zirconia, or ceramic, dental implants. We do bioenergetic testing to make sure we do not introduce this risk. For more information, read “Are Ceramic Dental Implants Safe?”
Myth #4: You need an implant specialist to have a good experience with zirconia implants.
Finding a specialist won’t help you if you’re working with the wrong specialist for your needs. Many dentists who are implant specialists use titanium metal implants. These specialists don’t work with zirconia implants.
If you are looking for zirconia implants because of their biocompatible properties, ask if a dentist has experience with ceramic dental implants or zirconia dental implants. There are many things dentists need to understand about zirconia implants to use them successfully for patients. A dentist who has significant experience in working with them will be able to guide you to the best option for you.
Myth #5: One size fits all with zirconia implants.
Each patient is different. There are a variety of zirconia implant systems. Ideally, your dentist will be familiar with a number of them and can recommend the one that is best for you.
The bottom line: Every patient is different. Zirconia implants are biocompatible for many people, but that isn’t always the case. In our practice, we use bioenergetic testing to determine the best options for each patient. You are an individual with a unique health profile. We always take that into account in our diagnostic and treatment plans.