Patients in Turlock ask, “Why Are Zirconia Dental Implants Gaining Popularity?
In the not too distant past, there were only two practical options for replacing missing teeth, removable dentures or fixed bridges. That changed with the rise of implant dentistry. Today, zirconia implants are rapidly gaining popularity, particularly among holistic-minded patients. People who visit Ramsin K. Davoud DDS. In Turlock, CA often ask how this came to be.
How we got here – a brief history of dental implants
The design deficiency of dentures and bridges is that they only replace the upper portion of teeth. Without roots, they rely on attachments, suction, adhesive, or the strength of existing teeth for stability. Implants replace roots, recreating the natural tooth structure. The idea is not new, but it has taken many centuries to develop and refine an effective method and material.
- Ancient times – Historians believe that the first attempts at dental implants may have been performed in China, as early as 2000 B.C. There is evidence of teeth being replaced with bamboo pegs.
- Middle ages – Archeologists have discovered primitive dental implants made of materials such as stone and shell, dating as far back as 600 A.D. In medieval Europe cadaver teeth and other materials were used.
- Early modern history – In more recent times dental researchers experimented with several materials and techniques. Unfortunately, they had the same problem as ancient implantologists did. Bone tissue often did not respond to implants like natural tooth roots.
- The 1900s – The first breakthrough in dental implant research came in 1952, in the form of a serendipitous discovery. An orthopedic surgeon had temporarily implanted a small titanium rod in a patient’s jaw. Much to his surprise, he was not able to remove it later. The bone had grown around the rod, fusing itself to the titanium surface, in a process called osseointegration. Based on this discovery, the first successful dental implants – made of titanium – were introduced.
- The 2000s – Although successful, titanium implants were less than ideal. With concerns about such as aesthetics, metal allergies, and electrical conductivity, researchers continued seeking a more biocompatible material that could provide comparable osseointegration. The next breakthrough came with the interdiction of ceramic zirconia implants around 2005. Research has shown this metal-free material has strength, longevity, and osseointegration properties like titanium.
Existing patients call us at (209) 690-8051 or
Schedule an Appointment today.
Why zirconia is the modern material of choice
Dental implant technology has come a long way since the days of bamboo and seashells. Perhaps we will see more existing breakthroughs in coming decades, though it is hard to imagine a more ideal material than zirconia. Why is it so popular? Here are a few of many reasons:
- Optimal aesthetics – A titanium implant is mostly hidden by the tooth-colored restoration that covers it. However, in patients with reseeding or thin gums, the dark grayish color of the titanium can show through. Zirconia, like the porcelain that tops it, is naturally white, so it will not distort the color of your smile.
- Non-allergenic – Although rare, some people are seriously allergic to titanium. Some research suggests that prolonged contact, such as a dental implant, may increase the chances of developing a metal allergy. Therefore, some people prefer to avoid metals, even if they are not currently allergic.
- Non-corrosive – As a type of metal, titanium is subject to corrosion, which may weaken the implant. Zirconia is a type of ceramic, which is stable even in the wet, warm environment of the mouth.
- Efficient design – Titanium implants are usually fabricated using a two-piece design. The implant is placed in the bone, and then an abutment (small attachment) is added. The abutment connects the implant to the restoration. Zirconia implants generally use a one-piece, seamless design, connecting directly to the restoration. This makes the procedure simpler and eliminates a potential point of stress.
- Comfortable treatment – In most cases, zirconia implants are placed the same day that teeth are extracted. The one-stage surgery is faster, more convenient, and less invasive. Recovery is also fast, comfortable, and trouble-free for most patients.
- Holistic – Many people are concerned about having metals in their bodies, because it can inhibit free flow of energy through the meridians. They also worry about issues such as the potential for electrical conductivity. Although it is made using the element zirconium, ceramic zirconia is non-metallic, non-corrosive, and non-conductive.
You can experience the benefits of zirconia implants for yourself. Just give us a call at (209) 666-8867 and schedule a consultation to get started.