Metal-Free Dental Implants – Zirconium is KING!
METAL-FREE IMPLANTS ARE HERE!
Not so long ago, dental implants were a highly acclaimed new technique, and now they are more and more commonly used. Now, a new material will once again revolutionize dental implantology – that material is zirconium.
Metal-free implants (also known as Zirconium implants or all-ceramic implants) are made of zirconium, a naturally occuring, extremely hard metal-free substance. Zirconium is resistant against acids and corrosion, and is biocompatible, which means no allergic reactions should be expected. Some patients experience allergic reactions to metallic implants, and will not experience allergies with zirconium-based implants.
Until recently, all dental implants were made of titanium, but recent state-of-the-art dental care also includes a metal-free option in zirconium. Zirconium implants have been only available in Europe until recently, but now they are available in the United States, and we are happy to be able to offer our patients an absolute metal-free option to restore their smiles.
Zirconium is very resistant to corrosion and is lighter than steel. It was first discovered in the late 1700s in Germany, and then about 30 years later was first isolated as a metal. In the late 1960s, it was studied as a potential biomaterial called TZP, and it was found that its properties were ideal for the construction of hip prostheses. In 1975, a British physicist Ron Garvie found that the tetragonal structure of zirconium dioxide could be stabilized by adding about 5.5% yttrium oxide material, resulting in an extremely hard ceramic material. This improved its already exceptional mechanical properties and increased its high biological stability. Zirconium’s sheer strength prompted its nickname, ‘ceramic steel’, and over the past two decades it has debuted in the field of dentistry – first for the fabrication of strong crowns, and then more recently as a strong, tooth-colored and metal-free dental implant material.
Zirconium is one of the best ceramics used today for dental reconstructions. Since it entered the field in the 1990s, it has been used increasingly, and today it is estimated that up to 20,000 zirconia structures are made across the world each day.
Decades of testing have shown that a zirconia bridge can retain its strength even after 50 years. What’s better, studies have also shown that zirconium is extremely biocompatible, and does not cause allergies in humans. Instead, it is readily accepted by the body.
Zirconium metal-free dental implants have been used in Europe for years now, and are now available in the U.S. We are happy to offer our patients in New York City and Northern and Central New Jersey completely metal-free options to restore their smiles.
The biggest advantages of Zirconium metal-free implants are that they are:
- Natural - Zirconium Implants make it unnecessary to implant titanium or any other metal into the jaw bone in order to create fixed teeth replacements. Zirconia implants are a holistic, natural choice of dental implant.
- Hygienic - Zirconium dental implants are shown to retain less plaque than their titanium counterparts, which will promote healthier gums around the implant.
- Cosmetically Aesthetic - Zirconium has the advantage of its bright white tooth-like colour which, as a base for a tooth replacement, appears even more natural than crowns with metal implants underneath. Its translucence makes excellent cosmetic results possible. The white color of zirconium implants also eliminates the possibility of a darkened gumline that sometimes occurs with metal implants.
From our standpoint as dental implant specialists, zirconium also has other advantages that are less cosmetically related, but are extremely important to the success and longevity of the implant. Zirconium is also:
- Strong - Zirconium is the second strongest material found in nature (next to the diamond), and the strength of zirconium implants is equal to that of titanium implants.
- Biocompatible - Zirconium is absolutely inert and therefore does not cause any allergic reactions. It is readily accepted and integrated by the body, and has been used for artificial hip and knee joints for over 20 years.
- Osseointegrative: Zirconia dental implants have a high rate of osseointegration, confirmed by numerous studies in the United States.
Dr. Jay Rubin, Implant specialist and Periodontist