Restore your smile naturally with metal-free zirconia implants in Turlock, CA
If you have missing or damaged teeth, they can not only cause you pain and oral health issues but also embarrassment. With natural-looking dental restorations that work in harmony with your body such as zirconia implants, you can rejuvenate both your smile and your self-confidence without compromising your overall health.
Dr. Ramsin Davoud and his team at Ramsin K. Davoud DDS Inc. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Turlock, CA are experts at replacing missing or badly decayed teeth with durable, biocompatible dental implants to bring health back to your mouth and body.
A history of dental implants
Dental implants are devices that are used to replace missing teeth that have either fallen out or needed to be removed. Many people think of dental implants as a modern-day dental procedure, or something that has become en vogue only in recent years. In reality, there is evidence that people performed procedures similar to dental implant surgery as far back as 600 AD. While they didn’t use the sophisticated materials that we use in modern dentistry—in fact, they used sea shells!—they were successfully able to insert the material into the jaw, where it fully integrated with the bone in a process called osseointegration to form a strong foundation for a false tooth.
In more recent history, titanium started being used for dental implants in the 1960s. At that point, titanium had been successfully utilized in other medical implant procedures and was thought to be a good surgical material because it naturally fuses with human bone to form a durable bond. However, over time, the health community has realized that metals can have toxic, negative effects on your overall body and health. In particular, as titanium decays, it releases titanium oxide particles into the body’s soft tissues, bones, and blood. When this happens, people can experience a number of negative side effects due to the toxicity of the metal, and cosmetically, it can cause patients’ gums to turn an unappealing gray color. Some people are so sensitive to the metal that their body rejects the dental implant and does not heal.
As a result, holistic dentists and patients alike began to seek a more natural, biocompatible material for dental implants and other restorations. Dentists who focus on holistic practices that keep their patients safe have found zirconia to be a great replacement for titanium in dental implants.
What is zirconia?
Zirconia is short for “zirconium oxide,” which is a ceramic material that is comparable to steel in terms of its qualities, but in fact, has little to no metal in it! Its nickname is “ceramic steel” because it is so durable and resistant to corrosion. It was first developed by a British physicist in 1975, who found that the structure of zirconium dioxide could be stabilized by adding another compound to result in a very hard ceramic. After that, zirconia was determined to be a material that was highly compatible with the human body. Doctors started to use the material medically soon afterwards, starting with hip replacements.
Zirconia was first used in dental applications in 1987, and in 2005, a European company called CeraRoot used novel technology to design the first implant made fully from ceramic. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of zirconia for dental implants in 2007. Fast forward to today, and zirconia implants are becoming a more and more popular option for tooth replacement around the world. In fact, there are approximately 600 types of dental implant systems available from manufacturers around the world, but almost all of them are made from either titanium or zirconia. In the United States, many dentists continue to use titanium due to the training they receive in U.S. dental schools and the pharmaceutical industry’s focus on titanium, so you may not even be given a choice between titanium or zirconia at a traditional, non-holistic dental practice.
Benefits of zirconia dental implants
Zirconia implants have many benefits:
- The jaw bone naturally fuses together with zirconia implants in a similar manner to titanium, making it a sturdy tooth root replacement choice
- Zirconia also facilitates growth of soft tissues to help with oral healing
- These metal-free dental implants are safer for your body, are hypoallergenic (do not cause allergic reactions), and do not release toxins into the body like titanium does
- Because it does not corrode, you will not experience negative reactions due to corrosion over time such as pain, a metallic taste, or burning in the location of the implant
- There is a lower risk of the implant failing because your body is less likely to reject zirconia than titanium
- Zirconia teeth look like your natural teeth, so it is not obvious that you have a dental restoration in place
- Plaque does not have an affinity for zirconia because it does not conduct electricity and therefore bacteria cannot adhere to it as well, so your gums are less likely to become inflamed or diseased in the area of the implant
- While metal implants can cause your gums to appear gray, especially in patients who have thin or receded gums, zirconia is lighter in color and weight than titanium, so implants do not cause any gum discoloration and your self-confidence is not negatively affected
- The implant process can be shorter and more comfortable for zirconia than titanium
- Healing time may be shorter with zirconia than titanium because of the zirconia’s biocompatible nature and unique structure
Another important benefit of zirconia implants is that they can help you restore health to your whole body. Decayed teeth are a hot spot for harmful bacteria that have been linked to many systemic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure, and other chronic issues. By eliminating the bacteria through natural, holistic methods, your overall well-being will improve.
Zirconia implant procedure
The process of implanting the zirconia implant typically takes place over more than one visit. The first step is to consult with Dr. Davoud about your current oral health and options for treatment. He will examine your mouth and take any necessary x-rays or 3D images to plan out the procedure so you can get the best results. Dr. Davoud will only recommend a zirconia implant if it is the right choice for you and your overall health. It is important that you feel well-informed about the procedure in advance so that you don’t feel anxiety or have doubts about the process, so Dr. Davoud will talk with you in depth about what to expect, the pros and cons of your treatment options, and any concerns that you have.
At the next appointment, Dr. Davoud will use either local or intravenous anesthesia so that you remain comfortable and pain-free throughout the implant procedure. Then, he will place the implant in your jaw bone in the spot that you are missing the tooth. Many patients find this process less painful than expected and can return to their normal activities the next day. Depending on the specific implant that is used in your mouth, the post may already include the “abutment” that the false tooth will ultimately be placed on.
The true benefit of the implant begins after it is placed. During a process called osseointegration, your jaw bone and the implant actually fuse together into one unit, creating a strong bond that will serve as a sturdy foundation for your replacement tooth. This not only helps keep your implant securely in place, but also boosts the health of your jaw bone and can prevent bone loss in the future. Zirconia also stimulates the growth of soft tissues in the area.
After the implant has fused with your jawbone, if it is not already included on the post, the dentist places a small connecting piece called an abutment on the implant, which is where your replacement tooth with attach. The dentist will take impressions of your teeth to custom-design an artificial tooth made from biological materials that work in harmony with your body.
The end result is a tooth that looks natural when you talk and smile, a healthier mouth, and a healthier body. While zirconia implants have been FDA approved in the United States for approximately a decade, they have been used for many years in Europe and have been shown to be extremely durable and long-lasting. Dental technology is continually evolving and the zirconia implants used today are designed to withstand the chewing forces created in your mouth during eating so that they last for many years.
Cost of zirconia implants
Zirconia dental implants cost slightly more than titanium implants, but many patients find the benefits of the metal-free implant for the health of their mouth and body to be worth the extra cost. Each patient’s case is unique and everyone has different needs, so after a thorough examination and the x-rays needed to properly plan out your treatment, a close estimate of the cost of your surgical plan can be created. At Ramsin K. Davoud DDS Inc. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Turlock, CA, the dental care team will inform you of the costs you should expect so you can ensure that the treatment fits within your budget.
Don’t let missing or painful teeth affect your physical health or self-confidence any longer. Call Dr. Davoud at (209) 666-8867
to schedule a consultation about your options to restore your smile today!