Zirconia Implants vs. Titanium Implants?


Tom asks:
I would like to know what the advantages and disadvantages of zirconia implants are over titanium implants. Do they last as long as titanium and how strong are they?

Answered by: Dr. Ken Ross

Lighthouse Point, FL

Hi Tom,

We simply do not have the same long range (35 years) data on Zirconia implants (just a few years) as we do for titanium. So, unfortunately no one can honestly answer this question.

My question in response would be: unless you have an allergy to titanium (extremely rare) why are we trying to "reinvent the wheel?" Quality implant systems using titanium show 35 years of success upwards of 96%. There is no need to consider Zirconia implants. Zirconium abutments "yes", but not implants.

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Expert Advice and Comments
Anonymous's picture

zirconium implants

Zirconium dental implants have been around for at least 10 years primarily in Europe. Zirconium has also been used extensively for non-dental implants. So we do have plenty of data on them all of which indicates that they are more biocompatible than titanium. In addition, the incidence of bad reactions to Titanium aren't necessarily as rare as is stated. There have been plenty of examples of people having bad reactions to titanium implants of all types, not just dental implants.

Anonymous's picture

zirconium implants

Thanks for starting this discussion.

There is also the very well documented occurrence of tissue impacted by titanium implants - up to the level of tissue having grayish staining around the implant area. There should be more data available on the effects of Ti nano-particles in tissue before Ti is considered to be safe for implants.

Alloy quality and impurities might also be issues with Ti, while Zirconia seems more inert, though more research on this one is needed - especially with regard to mechanical and thermal stress scenarios of doted ceramics.

Regarding success rates: Not all patients consider a Ti implant that lasts only ten to twelve years as a success.

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