Dental implants are a popular solution for missing teeth because they are long-lasting, blend in with your natural teeth, and allow you to enjoy your favorite food without restrictions. Since they first became available in the 1970s, researchers have continued to develop new techniques and materials to improve their functionality. Today, patients have two types of implant to consider: titanium or ceramic. Which option is best for you will depend on several factors, so let’s take a look at the details for each.
Titanium implants consist of a titanium root that is inserted into your jaw. An abutment is placed on top of the root, and then a crown is secured on top of the abutment. The crown can be made from several materials, including porcelain, gold, or ceramic.
The advantages of titanium include:
- Durability. Dentists have been working with titanium for over 40 years. It’s proven to last a long time and has a success rate of 97%.
- Biocompatibility. The titanium root will fuse with the bone of your jaw through a process called osseointegration. This creates a stable base for the abutment and crown.
- Strength. Titanium is a light but very strong metal, which makes for comfortable and long-lasting dental implants.
- Affordability. Titanium is a widely available material, making it a more affordable option than materials like ceramic.
Titanium is still considered the standard material, but it can have disadvantages, including:
- Possible allergic reactions. Allergies to titanium are rare, affecting about 0.6% of the population. However, for people with this allergy, choosing ceramic implants over titanium is a necessity.
- Coloring. For patients with receding gum lines, part of the titanium root may be visible. Since titanium is not white or tooth-colored, some patients may have an aesthetic preference for other materials.
These are a more recent development, becoming available in the US in 2009. They are made in one piece, with the root and crown combined. They are usually made with Zirconia, a highly durable type of ceramic.
Their advantages include:
- Natural appearance. These implants blend in with your natural teeth even if part of the root is visible.
- Biocompatibility. Studies show that Zirconia will fuse to the bone of your jaw in the same way that titanium implants do.
- Metal-free material. Ceramic is nonmetallic, making it a good option for patients who are concerned about allergic reactions.
Anyone considering ceramic implants should also be aware of possible disadvantages, including:
- Longevity. Ceramic has proven to be a long-lasting material. However, since ceramic dental implants have not been available for very long, we don’t have studies about their success rate over 20 years or more.
- Durability. While ceramic materials are highly durable, they are more likely to develop cracks or fissures compared to titanium.
Both titanium and ceramic implants are proven to be safe and effective, so choosing between them may be a matter of personal preference. Your dentist can provide a recommendation based on your individual needs.
Restore Your Smile with LifeSmiles
At LifeSmiles by Dr. Randy Mitchmore, our dental implants are made with titanium roots and Zirconia crowns, creating a natural-looking and highly durable solution to missing teeth. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you smile with confidence.