Dental implants change lives. This statement sounds dramatic, but we see the results each time we restore a smile using implants. Patients can finally eat and smile again, often after years of dental problems. We love changing lives with dental implants in Austin, TX and are excited to now offer metal-free options to our patients. More implant options will mean that more patients can benefit from dental implant surgery at Hill Country Oral Surgery.
Titanium vs. Metal-Free Dental Implants
Traditionally, dental implants consist of a titanium screw that is placed into jawbone, and a replacement tooth, or crown that attaches to the screw. These implants are strong and effective, providing stunning dental restoration results for many of our patients. Titanium implants are the most commonly used type of dental implants in the U.S. and at our Austin, TX oral surgery practice.
Unfortunately, titanium implants aren’t always a good fit for every individual. They are made of a special, surgical grade metal that is strong and not reactive for most patients. However, some patients are allergic to this type of metal.
For many years, titanium implants were one of the only dental implant options available. This meant that patients had to choose between sup-par results from poorly suited dental implants and other restoration options. Metal-free dental implants allow us to better serve our patients by providing additional options for patients that aren’t good candidates for titanium implants.
Metal-free dental implants are another option for dental restoration. Some benefits of metal-free implants include:
- Ideal for Patients with a Metal Allergy- Titanium allergies are rare, but when they occur, they can make titanium dental implants inadvisable. Our metal-free dental implants are crafted from a type of strong ceramic called zirconia. They are safe to use in patients with a metal allergy. Like titanium, zirconia has low levels of reactivity and is a safe choice for most patients.
- Better Camouflage in Patient’s with Thinning Gums- Metal-free dental implants are white, similar in color to a natural tooth. Titanium implants are a metallic, silver color. Most of the time, the color of the implant base doesn’t matter, unless a patient has thinning gums. The silver color of a titanium implant can show through thinning gum tissue, discoloring the appearance of the gums significantly. Since zirconia implants are white, they do not show through or discolor the gums. Gum grafting can reduce discoloration from titanium implants for many patients.
- Low Plaque- Metal-free dental implants are constructed differently than a traditional titanium implant. This specialized construction eliminates some of the common hiding places for plaque in a traditional implant. Zirconia also has a low plaque affinity. With proper dental care and regular cleanings, this can reduce plaque build-up in the mouth and improve oral health.
- Strong- Our metal-free implants do not use cement. Instead, they fasten together using a unique internal connection. These implants are strong and able to effectively withstand biting forces.
Our decision to offer zirconia dental implants does not take away from the effectiveness of a titanium implant. We want to bring our patients the best options available. We recommend both types of implants and use them regularly.
There are benefits to titanium implants too. These include:
- Industry Standard- Titanium dental implants are the most commonly used type of dental implant in the U.S. They have been used, tested, and carefully developed over decades. They are one of the most trusted and tested options for tooth replacement.
- Multiple Tooth Replacement- Many patients that receive dental implants require multiple implants. We offer full arch dental restoration, using four or more dental implants to support a full arch of teeth. This isn’t currently possible with metal-free options. Full arch restorations using bridged crowns can save patients money and may make implant surgery less invasive by requiring fewer implants.
- Strong- The NobelPearl dental implants we use are very strong, featuring a combination of metal-free zirconia and carbon fiber. Titanium implants may be stronger, making them a better choice for patients with tooth grinding or clenching issues.
Are Metal-Free Dental Implants a New Option?
Metal-free dental implants are relatively new to Hill Country Oral Surgery, but they have been available for many years. The first zirconia dental implants were released in the late 1980s. Metal-free options are gaining popularity in recent years.
We use the NobelPearl implants from Nobel Biocare. These implants are a newer option, and one of the most effective ceramic dental implant options we’ve seen. Our oral surgeons have carefully researched the implants we offer, and only bring safe and effective choices to our practice.
What to Expect from Dental Implant Surgery in Austin, TX
Our friendly staff and helpful oral surgeons will help you every step of the way throughout the implant process. From tooth extraction to final restoration, we’re here to answer any questions you may have.
Whether you receive titanium or metal-free dental implants, the implantation process is similar. You’ll begin by visiting Hill Country Oral Surgery for a consultation with one of our skilled oral surgeons. We’ll use x-ray and in-house CT imaging to determine your best options for tooth restoration.
During your consultation, you’ll discuss many options with your oral surgeon, including metal-free vs. titanium dental implants, and guided vs. freehand implantation surgery. We take the time to carefully outline the risks and benefits of each option, ensuring our patients receive the best possible care.
Dental Implant Surgery in Austin, TX
Dental implant surgery may be performed on a single day or split into multiple procedures. We’ll help you determine which option is the most appropriate for your situation.
Implants are carefully placed into the jawbone, using specially designed guides that indicate ideal placement locations and depths, or using a freehand technique that relies on your surgeon’s skill and experience.
After the implant screws are in place, healing begins. It takes time for the bone to heal and how the implant screw in place. We’ll provide detailed recovery instructions to help you properly care for your implants during the recovery period.
This process takes time and patients can expect a 3-6 month wait from placement to full restoration. Timelines are similar for both titanium and metal-free dental implants.
Learn more about metal-free dental implants in Austin, TX by calling Hill Country Oral Surgery at 512-327-7233.