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What Material Are Dental Implants Made Of?

08 June 2019
what is a dental implant

In this post you're going to find out about the various materials that dental implants are made from - along with the pros and cons of each.

We thought we'd open the post with a short video from Dr. Peter Doherty explaining what an implant is.

What Types Of Implants Do You Use At 3Dental?

We use several different makes of implants, all of them made from Titanium. 

Most commonly we use implants from Nobel Biocare or from Neodent which are a Straumann brand.

The implant we choose in each individual case depends on the clinical scenario. For example, if we know from our pre-operative assessment that the bone will have low density then we choose an implant which will be able to gain high stability in low density bone. Dr. Peter Doherty

We provide the following dental implant services:

Difference between Titanium and Ceramic Implants

Titanium Implants

The vast majority of dental implants used worldwide are made of Titanium. Titanium is used in dental implants because it is light, strong, biocompatible (the body doesn’t react to it), and most importantly it bonds to the bone. It has been used for over 50 years and has been well studied and observed over that time.

Implants are usually made of an alloy containing 90% Titanium. The remainder comprises of other metals to give the implant additional strength such as aluminium and vanadium.

Titanium Implants

The metals used in different brand of implants are often very similar, the differences lie in the shape of the threads on an implant, or in the shape at the top of the implant where the crown attaches.

The surfaces of these implants are roughened on a microscopic level to help them bond successfully to the jaw bone.

This is done during the manufacturing process by either sandblasting the surface or dipping them into a substance which etches the surface. The implants are subsequently cleaned and sterilised.

Ceramic Implants

Ceramics were first used in dental implants during the 1960s and 1970s, but had a high failure rate and did not become popular. More recent ceramic implants are made of a new ceramic material - Zirconium Dioxide, more commonly known as Zirconia.

A small proportion of implants placed worldwide are made from Zirconia. It is a type of ceramic which is white in appearance, strong, and also biocompatible.

Zirconia Implants

It has been suggested that these implants may be useful in people with allergies to Titanium. More modern production methods seem to produce greater success rates in ceramic implants than the earliest versions, however, there is little data available on how they perform long term.

Zirconia is not as commonly used as Titanium for implants, and it has been around for less than 20 years.

Types Of Dental ImplantsDental Implant Materials
Alpha Bio Dental ImplantsAlpha Bio Implants are made from Titanium and the company is based in Israel.
Ceramic Zirconia Dental ImplantsZirconia or ceramic implants are interchangeable terms which mean the same thing. The element Zirconia is actually a metal, but when processed and crystallised it becomes a ceramic.
Clearchoice Dental ImplantsClearchoice are an American based group of dental clinics which use Titanium implants.

Questions on Dental Implant Materials

How long do zirconia dental implants last?

  • There are not enough clinical studies to say how long Zirconia dental implants will last.

Are ceramic implants better than titanium?

  • Titanium implants have been around longer than ceramic implants, and they have a proven track record. Ceramic implants are a newer product and there have not been enough clinical studies on them to say that they are better or worse than Titanium.

What are the best dental implants made of?

  • Titanium implants have a proven track record and multiple studies in humans which show that they are currently the best and most reliable material used in dental implants.
Conclusion

At present, the most reliable and proven material used in dental implants is Titanium. When further clinical trials and studies are completed on Zirconia implants they may become as widely used.

Could you benefit from dental implants? We offer free consultations, so get in touch today at either our Dublin or our Limerick clinic to find out how we can help.

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