What are the advantages of ceramic dental implants (also known as zirconium dental implants)? Are they worth the extra money? And more importantly, are they right for you?
Whether you’re getting zirconium dental implants or traditional dental implants, it’s important to understand they aren’t cheap. They are by far your best option for tooth replacement — they look and function for all practical purposes like your natural teeth. Plus, dental implants are permanent. They never have to be refitted or replaced.
But they can cost thousands of dollars. Most of our patients say the convenience, function, and beauty of their new teeth are well worth the price. But it’s an important choice — and it’s your choice: Are zirconium dental implants your choice when it comes to tooth replacement?
What Are Zirconium Dental Implants?
Zirconium implants are relatively new. They’ve only been available in the US since 2007, though Europe has had them since the late ‘80s. Titanium has been the traditional material in dental implants since the 1960s. Zirconium offers an alternative to titanium that contains less metal and is more natural. Zirconium dental implants are ideal for people who may be allergic or have a bad reaction to metal.
Zirconium dental implants are also a more aesthetic option in thin areas of the gumline where traditional implants might show through. These cosmetic dental implants look more natural and easily blend in with the surrounding teeth.
Is Zirconia Actually Free of Metal?
But if it’s made from zirconium, is a zirconia implant technically “metal free?” Good question. It’s important to remember that Zirconia is actually a ceramic made from zirconium dioxide. The process involves a chemical reaction that occurs by moving electrons from zirconium to oxygen molecules. The end product is a ceramic zirconia that’s metal free but also tough and non-conductive — perfect for people who are allergic to metal or prefer more natural materials in their mouths.
Do Zirconium Dental Implants Cost More?
Yes. Because of the manufacturing cost and the fact that the placement of these dental implants are more time-consuming, zirconium dental implants cost more — as much as 10x an implant.
Benefits of Ceramic Dental Implants
But many consider ceramic dental implants to be worth the price, especially if they’ve had bad experiences with titanium.
First, zirconium dental implants are more aesthetic. They have less mucosal discoloration than titanium, so they blend in better, especially in the anterior region.
How Long do Zirconium Dental Implants Last?
Traditional dental implants are permanent solutions to teeth replacement. Once they’ve been placed, you’ll never need to replace them. We hope zirconium dental implants last just as long, but they just haven’t been around as long. So we don’t really know how long they will last. We have every reason to think they are a long-lasting solution, but they’ve only been in people’s mouths for 20 plus years now. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Which Type of Dental Implant is Right for You?
If you have metal allergies to consider, zirconium dental implants may be worth the investment. You might also consider zirconium if the implant will be done on a tooth that is easily seen when you smile. Otherwise, you might consider a traditional dental implant using titanium. Both are great options, though cost might be a roadblock to some.