Ceramic Dental Implants

Ceramic Dental Implants

Ceramic dental implants are becoming more popular in the United States. With more patient concerns about permanent placement of metal fixtures within the bone, ceramics provide a great alternative. Currently ceramic implants are very popular in Europe and they are slowly making their way into the US market. Let discuss some of the advantages of ceramic fixtures and their restorations.

Metal-Free Implants

One of the main advantages of ceramic or zirconia dental implants over conventional titanium implants is that they are metal free. Metal free fixtures will eliminate the concerns about potential failure of the implant due to corrosion. The zirconia implants are highly biocompatible, hypoallergenic and immunologically neutral. This means that the success rates are even higher as compared to conventional titanium implants. The highly biocompatible surface of the implant also reduces the accumulation of bacteria and bacterial byproducts. This leads to reduced inflammation around the implant and reduced chances of chronic inflammatory disease and possible loss of dental implant in the future. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to clean around the implant but it does mean that the ceramic implant will do better that a metal one over time. Ceramic implants also provide excellent osseointegration, fusion of implant with surrounding bone, due to a laser modified surface. This allows the surrounding bone to completely grow around the implant and provide it with the needed stability.

Porcelain dental implants
PURE ceramic implant system

Single Unit Implant and Abutment (all-in-one implant)

Another advantage of some ceramic implants is that they are  single-piece implants. This means that they do not require a separate abutment. The implant and abutment are one. This eliminates a micro gap that we see with titanium implants. This means that there is less chance for bacteria and bacterial byproducts to collect around the joint and cause irritation than you would see with a titanium fixture.

The single surface implant can be prepared for a crown as soon as it is placed, as if it was a natural tooth. This reduces the need for extra procedural steps.

Porcelain Implants and Esthetics

Esthetic appearance of a ceramic dental implant is another advantage over titanium. Recession of the gingival or gum tissue occurs naturally as we age. Receding gums will expose more of the implant body over time. As more of the titanium implant is exposed, a dark shadow will appear between the gum tissue and the crown. If this occurs in an esthetic area the problem will need to be addressed. Patients interested in correcting the esthetic void would either need a new implant or gum surgery. Both are expensive options. Ceramic implants are pearly white in color. Even with recession of the gums the body of the implant would blend in color with the ceramic crown and eliminate most if not all of the dark shadow.

Future of Ceramic Implants

Ceramic dental implants should and will become the standard of care.  We can compare this transition to airplanes being built from aluminum versus composite materials.  In the future, as ceramic implant become used more frequently, titanium implants will only be used in very specific cases.  Implant manufacturing companies are leading the way.  The Straumann® with their PURE ceramic implant and CeraRoot, which offers several different designs, are making sure that the future is available for us today.  At this point, finding a dentist that places ceramic implants will be much more difficult than finding a dentist that places titanium implants. If you are searching for a dentist that can place these fixtures, internet may be your best option.

A great resource on ceramic dental implants is the International Academy of Ceramic Implantology .  IAOCI is a comprehensive resource for patients and dental health professionals. The website offers the latest research, news, and articles on the topics of ceramic dental implants, zirconia and zirconium implants, zirconium oxide, and metal-free dental implants of all kinds. If you are interested in learning more, please visit their website.