Are Metal Free Implants Better Than Titanium Implants?
Owing to its biocompatibility, low density and ability to withstand abuse ceramics are a far superior product when compared to metal for implantation in the human body, and an excellent choice for dental implant surgery.
All-ceramic dental crown placed over an all-ceramic dental implant look and function very much like the natural tooth and they provide metal-free restoration, eliminating concerns of allergies and biocompatibility issues thereby lessening potential for damage to the immune system. The term ‘ceramics’ applies to a wide range of materials that, when compared to traditionally used metal implants, are harder and have higher temperature resistance, strength, lower density and excellent resistance to corrosion. These properties make ceramics invaluable for use in the oral environment where high temperature, corrosion and constant abrasion is ever present.
While dental implants are usually made of titanium, materials such as aluminum and vanadium are often alloyed or blended with the titanium which can create issues of allergy, galvanism and potentially impair the immune system in a number of ways. When differing metals are placed in the mouth or directly into the jaw bone as with a dental implant, those metals will eventually begin to secrete by-products from the oxidization process and are then circulated throughout the body.
Zirconia dental implants are now being introduced into the United States as an alternative to metal implants and they have been used quite successfully in Europe for some time. The advantage of these implants is that they are ceramic, and thus there is no concern of corrosion. Zirconia is not to be confused with Zirconium which is a metal placed just below titanium on the periodic table. Zirconium oxide is the product now being used for the production of dental implants and this is the ceramic called Zirconia.
When patients exhibit overall healthfulness and are generally of a robust constitution, they tend to tolerate implants very well, but before considering something as serious as an implant procedure, a full health assessment is in order. In conjunction with assessing the patient’s physical state and ability to heal from surgery, most holistic dental practices are also concerned about the acupuncture meridian upon which the implant is placed. Every tooth in the mouth is located on an acupuncture meridian, and therefore can potentially affect specific organs, muscles, vertebrae and tissues. Although Zirconia implants are preferable over metal implants for their biocompatibility factors there may still be some concern over how these implants affect the meridians, and so for example; placing an implant on the breast meridian of a woman who has a family history of breast cancer may not be prudent.
Another consideration in whether or not to place implants for a particular patient has to do with whether or not they grind their teeth which might cause damage to the zirconia over time. Habits such as smoking or chewing tobacco may also negatively affect the long-term success of implants. And ultimately, patients with implants must be conscientious in about maintaining good oral hygiene.
A reproduction of a tooth’s root is inserted in the jaw and over time, the implanted “root” bonds with the bone of the jaw. In other words, ceramic dental implants readily allow the bone to grow right up to the implant surface and is held securely in place by the bone. This process typically takes four to six months to completely heal before the restoration can be finished.
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