When it comes to dental implants, patients often tend to get confused on whether to get zirconia implants or titanium implants. While the choice was simple until the 20th century, the advent of zirconia implants in 2007 has only put patients in a dilemma while getting dental implants. Titanium implants are still the most widely used dental implants. Zirconia implants on the other hand have not been in the market for too long to prove its worth against titanium implants, although the choice between the two could still be confusing. To get a brief overview of which implant is better than the other, let us delve deep into both the types.
Zirconia is the crystal form of Zirconium. Upon converting Zirconium to Zirconia, it becomes a ceramic. This is the reasons why marketers tend to market it as being ‘metal-free’. The root, the abutment, and the crown come in one single piece. This means that the dentist cannot alter the implant according to the requirement of the patient. However, the ceramic, when given the color of a tooth, perfectly resembles a tooth. At present, there is lesser known about Zirconia implants than titanium implants, since the former has not been in the market for too long, compared to the latter.
Titanium implants have been in the market since 1960’s, and hence, a lot is known about their effectiveness. These are made of alloys of aluminium, vanadium and nickel. It is known to have immense strength, which is why patients usually opt for it. However, some patients complain of being allergic to the metallic nature of the implant, which usually comes from the nickel content in it.
Since the above general comparison might not have helped you in choosing the better implant, let us compare the two, feature-by-feature!
Aesthetics of the Implants:
Titanium implants perfectly suit most of the patients. However, in some instances, patients complain of having a gray line along the ridge of the tooth. This issue is not associated with zirconia implants. This is mainly because of the metal-free nature of the implant. The ceramic material looks perfectly natural and the bright white color that it exhibits, is something that patients often prefer over the visible gray line from titanium implants.
Osseointegration refers to the compatibility between the bone and the implant. In this context, it is tough to differentiate the two types of implants. Both are highly bio-compatible, meaning that they flawlessly integrate with the adjacent bones and gums. Titanium implants have reportedly lasted for decades with patients, while zirconia implants have not been around for long enough, to study its longevity.
In this context, titanium implants clearly win over zirconia implants. Titanium implants are immensely strong, resist fractures and have high flexural features. Although zirconia implants are fairly strong as well, they are prone to fractures due to low elasticity.
Titanium implants are much easier to place than zirconia implants, primarily because of the fact that dentists have been practicing it for a longer period of time. Also, the fact that titanium implants come in two pieces, gives dentists more control over the implant. The same cannot be said for zirconia implants, which come in one single piece.
Therefore, titanium implants are clearly the overall winner, excelling in strength, ease and placement. While zirconia implants only outweigh titanium implants in aesthetics, and merely match titanium implants in terms of osseointegration, your choice still depends on which aspects of a dental implant you value the most!