I have four missing teeth and am gradually replacing them with dental implants. My first two implants are titanium. But I read online that zirconia implants might be better because titanium can cause an allergic reaction or neurological issues. I will receive my next two implants in the fall. Should I ask for zirconia implants this time? Thank you. Oliver from RI
Thank you for submitting your inquiry to our office.
Titanium is one of the most biocompatible materials used for prosthetics in the medical and dental fields. Although people with specific metal allergies or sensitivities might benefit from zirconia implants, titanium is widely used. The human body contains various elements that help it perform essential functions, including zinc, iron, and copper. If a specific metal causes a reaction, it must be determined on an individual basis.
Are Zirconia Dental Implants Better than Titanium?
A December 2016 article, Zirconia Vs. Titanium Implants – Deciding Factors, was published in the Journal of Dentistry, Oral Disorders & Therapy. The report makes the following points:
Although zirconia is an ultra-strong ceramic, many implant dentists recognize its limitations:
- An implant dentist or oral surgeon cannot usually leave zirconia implants to heal beneath the gums
- Zirconia lacks the flexural strength of titanium and may crack under pressure
- Adjustments to zirconia can lead to micro-cracks that can spread and result in dental implant failure
- The small diameter of zirconia implants increases fracture risk
- The one-piece design of zirconia implants is not conducive to using for full-mouth reconstruction
What If You Have A Titanium Allergy?
Although most people are concerned about an allergic reaction to titanium, only 6% of patients have titanium allergies. And some metal reactivity tests are unreliable. But if you have a confirmed titanium allergy—or if you simply prefer zirconia—zirconia dental implants may be an option.
Schedule a Dental Implant Consultation
We recommend that you begin with a consultation with a skilled cosmetic dentist who restores dental implants. He or she will explain your options for crowns or dentures on zirconia vs. titanium implants and the result you can expect.
Dentists who do not have advanced implant surgery training work with a periodontist (implant specialist) or an oral surgeon to plan for and place your dental implants.
Michael Szarek, DMD, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Lowell, MA, sponsors this post.