A dental implant is usually done if you lose one of your teeth. The implant has three composite parts. The crown is the uppermost part of the implant, and it mimics the color, shape, and size of natural teeth. The most common material that crowns are made up of is ceramic (zirconium). The base of the implant is a titanium or zirconium screw that is fused into the jawbone. A connector, also known as an abutment, is a six or eight-sided shaped structure that joins the crown to the base.
The process of replacing your tooth with an implant involves a two-part oral surgery. The first is to secure the screw into your jawbone. Afterward, the gum is placed over the implant so that it can heal. The second oral surgery takes place after the gum around the implant has healed to a certain degree. The connector is fitted on to the implant, and then the crown is placed. The crown is held in place by either a screw or dental cement. However, ceramic dental implants are attached in just a single oral surgery.
When deciding on the suitable material for use in implants, the biocompatibility of the said material must be considered first. Implants mainly fail because of infections caused by the very bacteria-friendly environment in our mouths. Biocompatibility—a measure of how favorably your body responds to the material while it still remains functional—depends on how resistant to corrosion a given material is.
The development of technology has fostered the advent of ceramic (zirconia) implants. It has been hailed as a true marvel and has potential in the future of materials used in dental implants. The material is preferred due to its insulation properties against heat and electricity. Ceramic dental implants are also inert—they do not react with foods that contain acids or any otherwise corrosive substance. Its strength and physical properties are a plus for use as dental implants.
Titanium has a terrific record of successful use. The biocompatibility of this material is derived from the stable oxide layer that forms on its surface. Like zirconium dental implants, titanium allows the bone to grow properly around it. The affinity created between the two becomes permanent.
How to Choose Between the Two
If you are looking for a quick replacement of a lost tooth, then a ceramic implant is an ideal choice. Titanium implants are done in a two-stage oral surgery that could be months apart from each other.
Aesthetic considerations also make zirconium implants a more preferred choice. They are naturally white and lack that grey tinge that metal has. One can easily spot the metal through the gums, and this situation gets worsened if the gum recedes. Inflammation could also occur.
Studies are supporting the formation of plaque is happens less around ceramic implants than titanium ones. Plaque is responsible for issues like inflammation, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. The risk of getting affected by such is reduced with the use of ceramic implants.
Image Credits: Jamie Brown