This review shows not only that zirconia implants have a great success record, but also that their heightened biocompatibility may reduce the risk of inflammation around the implant, called peri-implantitis.
Numerous Studies Show Good Performance
Some people think zirconia might not be a suitable alternative to titanium dental implants, but the studies show otherwise. This article follows up on a recent review of clinical survival studies of zirconia implants. Overall, the review showed a success rate of 92% for zirconia implants. Although this is slightly lower than for titanium implants, it may partly be a learning curve for this technology. Reviewers noted that there was a great disparity in the studies. Many studies showed a 100% success rate. Others were significantly lower.
Zirconia is just as strong as titanium, although they are very different materials.
Resistance to Inflammation
The leading cause of dental implant failure is peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is when the gums around the implant become inflamed. Usually caused by a bacterial infection around the implant, it is essentially the same as periodontitis, which we often call gum disease.
It turns out that this might not be the case for zirconia dental implants. These implants may be less likely to experience infection and the resultant inflammation that leads to peri-implantitis.
Part of the reason why they’re resistant to inflammation is that they are more friendly to gum tissue. Titanium integrates well with the bone, but it can irritate gum tissue. Zirconia is very friendly to gum tissue, helping it to grow right up to the implant, creating a seal that makes it harder for bacteria to penetrate. And because the tissues aren’t already irritated, they don’t start out inflamed even before the infection.
According to studies, zirconia also makes it harder for oral bacteria to adhere to the implant. As a result, they have a harder time forming a biofilm to protect them and allow them to propagate.
Despite the early promise of zirconia implants, there is still room for improvements. First, the implants seem to be vulnerable to irregularities in the manufacturing process, so future processes will have to continue to evolve to improve results. We also want to see more variable designs to help make zirconia implants function better in a diverse array of situations. And, of course, we want to see more long-term clinical studies on their success.
But so far zirconia implants are doing great and offer a metal-free alternative to people who are uncomfortable about titanium dental implants. If you would like to learn more about zirconia dental implants in Rochester, NY, please call (585) 244-3337 today for an appointment with an implant dentist at Contemporary Dentistry.