You only have one set of adult teeth, and they need to last until you are 80, 90, or beyond. The actions you take towards your teeth today will either benefit you or harm you in the future. Of course, good dental care starts with seeing a dentist regularly. You should go in for cleanings and checkups, and any other time you think something might be amiss with your teeth. Education is important when it comes to any aspect of your health, so start reading the articles on this website to educate yourself about dentists and dental care. We promise that when you're 80 and you still have your teeth, you won't regret the time spent.
Dental implants become integrated with your jawbone. This gives them the stability that they need in order to avoid shifting around whenever you chew food. The process is referred to as osseointegration.
Decades ago, titanium was the first material that was discovered to be capable of doing this. More recently, zirconia ceramic was shown to have the same properties. As a result, both are now used as dental implants.
If you're considering dental implants, you're probably wondering which one is the best choice. In order to help you make your decision, read on to find out the most important differences between the two.
Titanium Carries the Risk of an Allergic Reaction
A downside of titanium dental implants is that there's an allergy risk associated with them. An allergic reaction can cause chronic inflammation in your gums, and it also makes your implant more likely to fail.
People who have aluminum, cobalt or nickel allergies have an increased risk of having an allergic reaction to titanium. Of these, nickel allergies are the most common.
Nickel is often used to create alloys used in jewelry — if rings and watches cause you to break out in a rash, you may have a nickel allergy. If you want to see whether or not you're allergic to nickel, an allergist can perform a skin test for you.
Zirconia ceramic implants, on the other hand, don't share the same risk — there has never been a case of someone showing an allergic reaction to it.
Titanium Can Cause Discoloration Underneath Your Crown
Another downside of titanium is that it can cause a gray discoloration near the gum line. If your gums or your jawbone are thin, the titanium post can show through slightly. It looks like a thin gray line underneath of your crown.
This problem doesn't happen with zirconia ceramic implants. They're the same white color as your crown, so they blend together.
Zirconia Ceramic May Be More Likely to Fracture
One downside of zirconia ceramic is that it's slightly less elastic than titanium. As a result, zirconia ceramic dental implants may be more likely to break. This is more common when the diameter of the implant is very small.
Another factor to consider is that zirconia ceramic implants were only available as one-piece implants until very recently. This means that the implant and the abutment (which connects your implant to your crown) are a single piece.
With titanium, the implant and the abutment are separate. This makes it easier for your dentist to angle the abutment slightly to either distribute chewing forces over the implant better or to give your crown a more natural appearance. When you combine this with the increased elasticity of titanium, it can make titanium implants less likely to break.
Which Is the Best Choice for You?
Overall, titanium is usually the better choice of material for your dental implant. Titanium is stronger, less expensive and has been used for implants much longer than zirconia ceramic — dentists have extensive experience working with them.
However, if you have a metal allergy or are concerned about discoloration, then zirconia ceramic is your best option. In either case, implant failure is extremely uncommon. Both provide strong, long-lasting solutions to restore a missing tooth.