Dental implants are the gold standard in teeth replacement options. These small titanium posts were first used in the 1960s, and ever since, they have been the ultimate solution for most dental problems. However, some patients aren’t suitable candidates for conventional titanium implants, mainly due to allergies or periodontal conditions. But this doesn’t necessarily mean bad news. At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we are thrilled to offer these patients an equally effective alternative: metal-free dental implants.
What are Metal-Free Dental Implants?
Metal-free dental implants are made of zirconia, a strong and durable tooth-colored ceramic that is also used for dental crowns and bridges. This material is highly biocompatible, and when it’s correctly treated, it triggers a biological integration into the jawbone similar to the one achieved by titanium implants.
Zirconia implants were introduced in 2005 as a revolutionary alternative to conventional implants. Titanium is still considered the most convenient material in oral implantology, but the search for other options has become more and more popular these past decades, mainly due to the high esthetic standards and increasing incidence of titanium allergies. So far, zirconia has proven to be the best alternative.
Which Patients Can Benefit from this Alternative?
Although zirconia implants haven’t been around as long as titanium implants, they have shown excellent results. These metal-free posts represent a perfect choice for patients with any of the following conditions:
Allergy to metals: titanium is one of the noblest and most bio-compatible materials used in the medical field, and most patients do not react to it. However, some patients have titanium allergies, so this treatment is contraindicated on these rare occasions. Those allergic to titanium can opt for other conventional treatments like full or partial dentures or fixed bridges. Still, none of them offers the same advantages as dental implants, so Zirconia implants are a great alternative to recovering oral health.
Thinning gum tissue: while titanium implants are silver in color, zirconia ones have a similar shade to natural enamel. This is a major advantage for patients with thin gum tissue, as the dark color of conventional implants can sometimes show through. Patients who still prefer titanium implants can opt to undergo a gum grafting that thickens the gum tissue, but they need to consider that this alternative involves an additional surgical procure that can make the treatment a bit longer.
Are Metal-Free Implants the Right Alternative for You?
If you are thinking about getting dental implants and still have some doubts, get in contact with our office and schedule a consult with one of our dentists. They will explain the different alternatives, and together you will choose the one that meets your unique needs.