Metal-free Dental Implants

Metal-free Dental Implants

If you are missing one or more of your natural teeth, a dental implant may be the best solution. Dental implants have been used in restorative dentistry for nearly 40 years and have proven to be the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants can last a lifetime, preserve the jawbone, and they simply look, function, and feel more like natural teeth than any other option.

In some cases, implants can be placed directly into the extraction site at the time of tooth removal. This is called immediate implant placement and it is ideal for implants in the esthetic smile zone and for back teeth when there is enough healthy bone to support the implant.  In most cases, largely because of infection or lack of bone in the sinus area, the implant often needs to be delayed for 3-6 months for the adequate bone to regrow and heal properly.  This is called delayed implant placement. In our office we use 3D CBCT technology and sophisticated virtual implant planning software by Anatomage™ to provide Guided Implant Surgery for every implant we do in order to achieve predictable, precise, and optimal results.

Titanium versus Zirconia

As implant guided surgery has evolved, so has implant material technology. The two choices for implant materials today are titanium/titanium alloys, and Zirconia, which is better known as metal-free ceramic implants. 

Titanium, the most common material of choice for implants today, was for many years considered bioinert, meaning it causes little to no reaction in the mouth. Titanium implants however are not all manufactured under the same quality standards – many are composed of metal alloys containing aluminum, vanadium, nickel, and other trace elements to decrease cost. These dissimilar metals conduct electricity and are vulnerable to galvanic corrosion (create a hyperlink to Galvanism) which releases titanium-alloy oxides into the surrounding bone and gums.

Corrosion of implant materials can be a serious health issue and has been linked to auto-immune disorders, metal hypersensitivity, and metal allergies.  It has been estimated that at least 4{90f5dc2c793e733be5e1cd4422eaf5cc621b4aa6d5ed93d29afe0681fae3f875} and possibly as high as 25{90f5dc2c793e733be5e1cd4422eaf5cc621b4aa6d5ed93d29afe0681fae3f875} of patients are biochemically intolerant to titanium and have allergic reactions to these metals. In addition, up to 80{90f5dc2c793e733be5e1cd4422eaf5cc621b4aa6d5ed93d29afe0681fae3f875} of patients with titanium implants have periimplantitis – a chronic gum inflammation that is linked to cardiovascular disease and causes bone loss which can lead to implant failure.

Fortunately, Zirconia has emerged as the most biocompatible implant material to date. Ceramic implants made of zirconium oxide offer the same benefits of strength, durability, and excellent integration in the bone as titanium but are 100{90f5dc2c793e733be5e1cd4422eaf5cc621b4aa6d5ed93d29afe0681fae3f875} metal-free.  This is one of the biggest benefits of ceramic dental implants – they do not conduct electricity, are corrosion-free, and hypoallergenic – reducing the risk of allergies or intolerances developing over time.

Zirkolith implants –The right choice 

In our office, we exclusively use Swiss-made Zirkolith® implants from Z-Systems and Straumann PURE® implants.  Both the Zirkolith® and PURE® Zirconia dental implants are pure white and do not produce the visible gray line along the gum line that may occur with titanium implants. The gum health around Zirconia implants is superior as gum tissue grows onto this metal-free implant surface particularly well creating a better seal against bacteria from invading the blood circulation via the gums.  Zirkolith® and PURE® also demonstrate extremely low adhesion of bacterial plaque, the main cause of gum disease and peri-implantitis.

Zirkolith® was one of the first FDA approved zirconia ceramic implants with over 15 years of clinical success worldwide.  Z-Systems is the only ceramic dental implant company to offer a 100{90f5dc2c793e733be5e1cd4422eaf5cc621b4aa6d5ed93d29afe0681fae3f875} metal-free solution – the best alternative for patients suffering from metal allergies.  The Straumann® PURE undergoes individual “100{90f5dc2c793e733be5e1cd4422eaf5cc621b4aa6d5ed93d29afe0681fae3f875} proof testing” – a mechanical strength quality check to guarantee it meets Straumann’s standards.  Straumann® implant company has over 35 years of the highest standards in clinical research with over 14 million implants sold worldwide. With Zirkolith® and PURE® it is now possible to provide biological implant dentistry with the use of zirconia implants as the superior alternative to titanium.

Zirconia on Teeth #9 by Dr. Todd A. Kinney

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