If your dentist has suggested you get a dental implant, you may be wondering “What will it look like?” The most widely used dental implants are made from titanium, which is a metal. Using titanium implants can cause a gray or black line along the gum.
Ceramic dental implants are non-metal implants available in white or tooth color, so they don’t come with this problem. Also known as zirconia dental implants, they contain the elements of zirconia, alumina and yttria. Zirconia is found naturally in the mineral baddeleyite. Alumina and yttria are ceramic oxides of metal. Because they exist in a glass phase, there is no metal in the implants. Ceramic dental implants are generally non-reactive because they are, for the most part, inert. Metal implants, in contrast, can be reactive to other metals in the mouth.
Dentists who use ceramic dental implants will often opt for them when replacing the front teeth, where cosmetics are most important.
The good news is that ceramic dental implants—also called zirconia dental implants—are just as strong as metal implants. This is true for two important measures: compressive strength (how well they hold up to daily chewing) and flexural strength (their resistance to fracturing under stress).
But there is one case where dentists may not recommend non-metal implants: the back of the mouth. Patients who clench their teeth very hard may find ceramic dental implants placed here may fracture. If you grind your teeth and want to use ceramic implants in the back teeth, ask your dentist if you need a mouth guard to protect your teeth and the implant.
Though ceramic dental implants are inert, your dentist needs to determine if they are biocompatible for you. Each patient has biochemical individuality. Just because a material works well for one patient, it doesn’t mean another will do well with it. That is why we offer a variety of ceramic dental implant brands in our practice. We use biodynamic testing to determine which type of implant is best for each patient.
Most dental practices that offer implants offer titanium ones. Our practice has embraced ceramic dental implants – non-metal implants—since they first became available in this country. If you want to learn more about non-metal dental implants, we encourage you to pick up the phone and call us. Our team will be happy to address your questions.