Safety of Dental Implant Materials

Frank, a dental patient, asks us:
I’m looking at having a 3 tooth/ 2 dental implant bridge replacing an old bridge on my top front teeth. Are there any known safety issues with titanium?

I have heard that zirconium is much more bio-compatable, with less problems in the later years after dental implant placement. Zirconium also seems to have a lower failure rate than that of titanium.

Incidentally, I’ve had a practicioner say to me, “There’s nothing wrong with titanium, the percentages are with you”. Howevever, when when I research the area I find that the percentages are not necessarily with me, and perhaps there are alternatives I’d like to get some feedback on the safety of titanium and other dental implant materials. Is Zirconium a better choice of material? Thanks.

6 thoughts on “Safety of Dental Implant Materials

  1. Hi Frank,

    At the moment, 99.9% of dental implants on the market are made of titanium. The zirconium component you speak of is attached to the implant as part of the restoration.

    The part that will actually fit into your jaw will be made of titanium, which has been shown to be biocompatible for a long time(think also joint replacements and screws for bone fractures).

    The debate whether to go with a zirconium or titanium abutment for the restoration is a little more heated. Some people like the “esthetic” nature of zirconium as is it white in color. On the other hand, titanium abutments have a longer track record.

    On the whole, implants and abutments made by reputable, established implant companies are very reliable.

    Finally, dental implants are a reliable, proven treatment for missing teeth and are considered a standard of care.

    I hope this addresses your concerns.

  2. Dear Frank:
    You are exactly right, zirconia is much nicer than titanium as abutment and as implants, the problem is that zirconia implants are in experimental fase(so not available for maybe 5 more years).
    Your dentist is also correct, if you choose a good surgeon and good dental implants you should have a good future in tems of function and coemetics(if you should choose implants you will also mantain bone or gain it if you get a graft).
    Eventhough there are some studies that demonstrate a slightly higher concentration of titanium oxide in tissues of implant patients, no illness or problem has ever been described in relation to this,so you can be assured that after near 40 years of titanium implants things are all clear and there is no problem at all with them.
    Hope this helps you

  3. Dear Frank,

    The Z-Look Implants made by the Swiss Company “Z-Systems” are placed now in 5.000 cases since 2001 with a very high success rate (study shows 96,7%) and perfect support of the soft tissue.
    More informations about zirconia implants on http://www.z-systems.biz and about titanium on http://www.melisa.org.

    Best regards, Ulrich

  4. Hi Frank,

    The Z-implant does not yet have FDA clearance because of lack of clinical trials.

    You can go to Germany or Switzerland to get one, or get a safe titanium implant like many millions before you!

    Good luck.

  5. FranK, Zircoinia is a good product to use for the support of your final crown.
    Titanium is most used, butdo not let be impressed by doctor who buy the last technology and this technology is the advertising…..A Diagnostic and the prognose is still in the clinical expertise of doctors and not in new materials with less or none studies…..

  6. Well guy’s it is now 2009 and the zirconia implant is in the states with FDA approval since October of 2007 on the Z system implant.

    Good stuff

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