Ceramic Dental Implants in Wailuku HI

Metal Free Implant Options | A Holistic Dentistry Approach to Dental Implants

What are ceramic implants?

Image of a Ceramic Dental ImplantDental implants have traditionally been made from titanium. Titanium has, for the most part, proven to be an excellent material for dental implants. It has demonstrated excellent biocompatibility, strength, and longevity.

A newer material entered the implant market about 20 years ago. Ceramic implants make up about 8% of the dental implants placed in this country. The ceramic implant is made from zirconium oxide, which is a white crystalline oxide of zirconium. The FDA has approved both ceramic and titanium dental implants and both are considered safe, viable replacements for missing teeth.

This implant material is in its early stages of understanding and use.  As with any product, it is still undergoing evolutionary changes to improve its design and longevity. Zirconia is more brittle than titanium. Consequently, earlier designs of the zirconia implants were plagued by fracturing. The newer designs have largely eliminated that concern.

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Pros of Ceramic Implants:

  • Non-conductive and resistant to corrosion. They do release any ions. 
  • Improved cosmetics. Titanium is a metal that can sometimes lead to a grayish coloration in the gums of patients who have thin gums, whereas zirconia implants are tooth-colored and do not cause grayish look of the patients’ gingival line. This makes ceramic implants an excellent option in patients with thin gingiva (prone to recession) and particularly in anterior sites.
  • Improved gingival health. Zirconia has a lower affinity for plaque compared to titanium, as well as less bacterial accumulation. There is also some studies to support improved blood circulation adjacent to zirconia compared to titanium.

Cons Of Ceramic Implants:

  • More expensive: We do not charge more for the ceramic implant itself. Additional components and lab processing fees are frequently higher than the cost for a crown on a titanium implant.

  • Less familiarity: If the patient moves or switches dentists, the patient may have a harder time finding a provider who is familiar or comfortable with the implant and its components.

  • Limited history of use.

  • Fewer applications:  Ceramic implants have certainly improved in strength. However, it is still more brittle than titanium and is not the best option in patients who are heavy grinders or who have long spans of missing teeth.

Bottom line: Ceramic implants are not yet a replacement for titanium implants but will likely become increasingly used, studied and accepted.  Most notably, they have demonstrated very impressive soft tissue responses. This makes ceramic implants a good option for patients with sensitivities, patients with thin gingiva in an anterior site, or simply for patients who want an alternative to metal. The patient has the right to choose the material in their body but it is my job to help guide on the risks and the best options for each individual case.

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Maui Facial and Dental Surgery Phone Number (808) 242-0077 Book Online