Dental implants help treat patients who have lost some or all of their teeth due to periodontal disease, an accident or some other reason. A dental implant is basically a replacement for the root of a lost tooth. The implant provides the support on which replacement teeth are anchored. Most people go for dental implant treatment without even having a little understanding of what the available options for the treatment are. If you are a candidate for dental implants and you are wondering what type of dental implant is right for you, read on to get acquainted with what is available out there: titanium implants and zirconia implants.

Titanium dental implants

Dental implants made from titanium are the oldest on the market and they continue to be mainstream in implant dentistry. The implant itself is a small screw embedded directly into the jawbone. Titanium is osteophilic, meaning it is very biocompatible and can thus be accepted by the jawbones and the entire body when used as a base for replacement teeth. The source of titanium's biocompatibility is its ability to immediately form an oxide layer upon being exposed to air. The patient's jawbone secures the implant in the mouth by fixating with the implant, a process referred to as osseointegration. This gives implants the strength and stability to support replacement teeth. The main downsides of titanium implants, however, is their dark colour, which may compromise aesthetics.

Zirconia dental implants

Thanks to advances in implant dentistry, dentists introduced zirconia dental implants as an alternative to traditional titanium implants. Zirconia is a special type of ceramic that is corrosion-resistant and has greater mechanical strength as compared to standard ceramics. Zirconia is also favoured for aesthetic dental restorations due to its tooth-like colour and low plaque affinity.

Because it is non-metallic, zirconia is thermally non-conductive, non-corrosive, and it does not allow for the transmission of electrochemical currents between different metallic components. However, zirconia implants generally tend to fracture more easily as compared to titanium alternatives. Though zirconia is a hardwearing material, it can never outlast titanium.

Just because a particular type of implant works a certain way for a person you know does not mean it will function the same way for you. The best way to ensure you choose the right material for your dental implant is to discuss your dental needs with your dentist. After assessing your special needs, the dental surgeon will help you choose the most suitable dental implant type of your treatment.