Zirconium Implants

Dr. Johnson asks:
Can you please give your opinion on the newer zirconium dental implants that
are being developed for use in the US? I believe Nobel Biocare is
currently testing one called ZiUnite [Zi short for zirconium].

I think that
zirconium dental implants are already being used in Europe but not yet in the
US.

Do you think the zirconium implants will osseointegrate as well as
titanium implants?

Do you think they will fracture more than titanium?

Some people do not want to put metal [titanium] into their bones and
therefore welcome the zirconium implants. And I have read that titanium
dental implants are more prone to inflammation than zirconium implants, and
that inflammation is now being linked to heart disease and cancer so
maybe zirconium dental implants might be safer from an "immune perspective."

All thoughts on this topic will be greatly appreciated.

68 thoughts on “Zirconium Implants

  1. Kyocera made a BIOCERAM dental implant in the early 1980′s that was zyrconia. It osseointegrated fine, it was not prosthetically versitile because it was a “one piece” type implant. Because of this it fell out of favor. Now that thye have refined machining of zyrconia, I feel it offers some potential especially in thin tissue biotypes (think, “show thru” of titianium) and the esthetic zone. I look foward to seeing them.

  2. We allready know that zirconia oxide ceramic implants are even more likely to integrate than titanium implants.(So are rubidium ones)
    They are not yet at comercial use level …. alumina oxide ceramic were used in germany for many many years with great success in the anterior area, but those tended to fracture under more stress or load, something that has not happened with Zi implants (as per partial reports) which means that Zi implants are probably the next thing in dental implants.
    The tendency in europe today is to avoid metals in the body… due to a few scattered studys/reports that show an increment in the titanium oxide deposits and circulating levels in the body in implant patients, europeans are trying ceramics that dont have that problem.
    In relation to the inflamation- auto inmune thing, you should remember that TiO is a natural antinflamatory so…
    Yes there is a clear link between chronic inflamation and Heart disease but in implant dentistry we try to achieve no chronic inflamation, we want stability… and there are no studys that link implants and heart problems as it has been clearly shown with perio patients. Evenmore many studys show that implant patients have better health than partial prosthesis wearers. Finally I dont think we will remove ti implants in favour of Zi ones, as we will not remove all teeth to prevent heart disease in perio patients(not all at once,at least we will give the fight for them).

  3. I have read that zirconia may be radioactive. I don’t know how radioactive it might be —lots of things are radioactive but don’t seem to harm us if the degree of radioactivity is miniscule.

    Does anyone know if the implant zirconia manufacturers have solved the radioactive issues at this time?

    Here is some research I saw on this radiation effect of zirconia on a different site:

    “Radioactive burden resulting from zirconia implants”

    [Article in German]

    Fischer-Brandies E, Pratzel H, Wendt T.

    Klinik und Poliklinik fur Kieferchirurgie der Universitat Munchen.

    Due to its mechanical properties circonia is an interesting implantation material. However, it may contain a certain amount of radioactive isotopes. The measurement of alpha-emission reveals varying amounts of radiation. As a result, a declaration of radioactivity should be required for circonia implants and only circonia with low emission levels should be used for implantation purposes.

    PMID: 1817864 [PubMed]

    “Zirconia Ceramics as Biomaterials – Radioactivity Issues”

    Background

    Zirconium compounds are refined from naturally occurring ores, notably zircon, and usually contain trace amounts of other elements depending upon the source of the original ore.

    In particular, zirconia typically contains trace amounts of radionuclides of the actinide series such as 226Ra and 228Th.

    As a consequence there have been some concerns about the use of zirconia ceramics as implant materials.

    The Radioactivity of Zirconia Biomaterials

    However, the radioactivity of zirconia is negligible.

    For example, the radiation emitted by a 3 mol% Y2O3-ZrO2 powder was the same order of magnitude as alumina powder, both of which were several orders of magnitude less than that typically measured for water, milk, vegetables and meat (in Europe).

    The radioactivity of Y-TZP zirconia femoral heads were shown to be similar to that of alumina and cobalt-chrome alloy femoral heads accepted for human implantation.

    The radiation dose of each material was well below European radiation limits specified for general external exposure of the human body and also for local internal exposure of organs and tissue, and was no more than the ambient radiation of the surroundings.

    The Radioactivity of Commercially Available Zirconia Powders
    Similarly, the radiation levels of several commercially-available zirconia powders (Nilcra Ceramics, Melbourne, Australia) measured by the Australian Radiation Laboratory were found to be minimal and well below acceptable limits.

    The Radiation Health Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia consider that magnesia partially stabilised zirconia femoral heads made from these powders would pose very little hazard to surrounding tissue.

    Radiation Absorption

    In a dense ceramic, almost all the radiation will be absorbed within the bulk of the material. Any external radiation could come only from radionuclides at the surface in the case of a-emission, or from radionuclides in the first few millimetres in the case of b-emission.

    Furthermore, in the case of artificial hip joints, any radiation from the femoral head will be absorbed mostly by the ultra high molecular weight polyethylene acetabular cup or the metal femoral stem.

    The radiation risk of zirconia ceramics is negligible and certainly no more than that of alumina.

    Primary author: Dr. Owen Standard.
    Source: Abstracted from Ph.D Thesis “Application of Transformation-Toughened Zirconia Ceramics as Bioceramics”, University of New South Wales, Australia, 1995.

  4. A pioneer in Z.implants is Prof. Dr. Ami Sandhaus , Lausanne, CH. He has started studies regarding Z-implants for more than 30 years.
    I visited a manufacturer of Z-implants in Switzerland. The ney tehnology makes it possible to produce almost any design of implant including also two parts implants.
    Prof. Ami Sandhaus presented at the intl. Congress of Oral Implantology from Bucharest6 Romania a verry vell documanteted material regarding metalosis caused by dental alloys , including Ti.
    I thonk the future of dentalmaterials belogs to nonmetallic solutions.

  5. Are Zirconium implants “safer” than titanium implants? Do they have any health consequences? What health benefits do they have over titanium implants? Can eaith type of implant cause disease?

    And please let us know is medical grade zirconium radioactive? What health effects will or could that have?

  6. Zirconium implants have a very high modulus of elasticity compared to bone and therefore induce very high stress forces in the jaw bone. And this is exactly what we should try not to do.

  7. Dr. Tataru, so you feel that titanium implants are better for the bone? And if you had to choose between the zirconium or titanium dental implants you would choose the titanium?

  8. Is it tougher or more complicated to install a zirconium implant?

    If so, why?

    In other words, are different procedures involved with installing a zirconium implant [that aren't involved when a titanium implant is installed]? If yes, why are the different procedures needed in the zirconium implant case?

  9. We have been involved with Y-TZP Zr02 (according to ISO 13356) Implants for about 2 years in Europe and so far we achieved highly positive feedbacks from clinicians and patients. There is no doubt that this material requires ample clinical documentation. However, this generation of material can not be compared to what has been in use in the 60′s and 70′s, reference is made to most recent works by Sennerby et al (2005), Piatelli et al (2006) and others. We recognize a trend towards metall-free implant-borne restorations. However, ZrO2 requires a completely different approach in designing and working with such a sophisticated material – it can not be compared at all to Titanium and its alloys. Machining requires perfectly defined parameters and ample quality control (100%!). Although the professional use of this material in dentistry is at its beginning only and a lot of misinformation is circling around. The material and its use will be evolving and will offer great alternatives to titanium implants.

  10. One definite advantage of titanium as the foundation/ root of the implant prosthetic is the fact that it (depending on the implant brand/grade of titanium- something that should be considered far more than it is these days with mountless delivery systems) carries a degree of malleability along with its rigidity.

    With zirconium abutments there is still a challenge that the zirconium does not “give” and will have a higher tendency to crack and break- especially in placements where ideal occlusion was not possible.

    A criticism of the implants of today in general is the lack of a PDL. Wouldnt a zirconium implant just present another weakness in this area?

    Finally, with success rates of 98.6% using titanium the way they are being done today, is the ability to load an implant a week or two earlier or have a little more bone to implant contact such a truly critical factor?

    I see the next generation being more based in genetic tooth regeneration using as opposed to artificial materials.

    Just my two cents…

  11. I just found this discussion- I am not subscribed to this, but I will try to leave a comment. I may need implants at some point soon- I have ALWAYS known that I do not want metal in my body. I am really happy to learn of zirconium implants- Does anyone think they will come to the US within 5 years or so?

  12. I have a titanium implant in the very front of my mouth. I am extremely bioincompatible with titanium, a different issue from inflammation.

    I think this bioincompatibility may be why gum transplants, to build up the gum around the implant, have failed, though creatively contrived.

    I am anxiously awaiting approval of zirconium implants. I understand that posts are approved already, crowns, etc., and that implants were to have been approved in fall of 2006 but were not.

    Any updates on this?
    Thanks.

  13. In regard to Zirconium Implants:

    What is Polycrystalline?
    What are the ingredients of the coloring agent used?
    **Still waiting for someone with MCS to try the implant and report in on the results or any side affects.

  14. I would like to know if titanium implants cause any health risk. My implants were placed in place of #30 and #31. Can the titanium cause any problems with bones or muscles in other parts of the body other than the oral cavity?

  15. Titanium is not a health risk…even if you have a metallic allergy…the percentages of someone having an allergic reaction to titanium is very very low (like .5% or something like that)…no need to worry unless you are the .5%….even then there are preventive measures you can take.

    Also I read a comment about there are no articles on linking implants to the heart…I think you should so some more research. There are articles coming out every month these days on this. USE GOOGLE – Periodontal pathogens and dental implants….I am not going to get into what they are saying because we all need to do our own research and look at all the evidence from different sources.

    Zirconia has come a long way, however I science doesn’t change….actually I should say the Periodic table hasn’t updated the “Zr” and science can’t change its strength….they are a great idea that came out in the 80′s…as already noted advances have came since then but I still say these are very suseptible to fractures….don’t read the company literature….wait for an independent that isn’t tied to the company in any way shape or form to doa complete analysis on these. Nobel is known for pushing products through their pipeline to get them to the public to be sold. As a doctor, I ask all patients to not be the guinea pig.

  16. Regarding zirconia implants, there is an interesting paper “ONE YEAR FOLLOWUP OF FIRST 100 ZIRCONIA DENTAL IMPLANTS IN HUMANS” published in JOMI (2007;22:430-435.
    The success rate at 1 year is 98%.
    I think we should be alert to future investigations about zirconia implants.

  17. Dear Dr Piatelly,

    I published in France in november 2007 my article about using angulated 15 degrees monobloc Zirconium Oxide Implants on humans.
    I placed in last 2 years more then 200 Zirconia monobloc 15 degrees angulated and I am very happy.

    If you want to read my article please write me and I will send you the article translated into english, of course.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Bogdan Vladila

  18. High success rate of zirconium dental implants is not surprising : in the whole , the main surgical principles of root form implant placement are similar with a little differences between cylindrical and spiral implants , and the regeneration of bone near the zirconium surface supposed to be similar to that of titanium surface.

  19. On 11-1-01-07, I had a titanium dental implant and returned to the surgeon today. He indicated the x-ray looks great and the tissue/mouth area is pink and looks fine. However, I have occasional throbbing on that side of my jaw. Also, recently my blood test indicated some problems involving elevated Alk Phos, segs,uric acid, Glu, T Prot, Sed rate, and ANA. Could this have anything to do w. a reaction to titanium?? I have never had blood test results w. these problems. I have annual blood tests for thyroid which was removed about 5 years ago.

  20. Elaine:

    I would be very interested to know the outcome of your situation, as I also require a restorative plan that may include implants, but I have some serious reservations about Titanium, as I have done some research and found information that shows titanuim is not as inert as once thought and corrosion problems are of serious concern.

    The material I read indicated that the titanuim does in fact adversley affect the lymphatic and nervous systems, t-cell issues as well as other problems. I spoke to my periodontist about this information, and he just dismissed my thoughts and became irritated that I am questioning his assurances that Ti is completely safe.

    Here is my email (mjmz2001@gmail.com), please let me know what you find out.

  21. I am booked into having titanium implants next week.Is titanium safe in the body? I get contradictory information.If you have had an implant write to me to let me know how its gone for you.

  22. Dear readers,

    I’m a dentist and researcher to better dental methods. One of the things that disturbed me about titanium implants were their esthetics, especially in the front region. I worked on the development of a zirconium implant with a manufacturer of finger and toe joints of zirconia. we developed a zirconium screw type implant with two stages to overcome the flexural strength of the zirconia and to make it adjustable in the mouth. It all works fine and suits many patients. the process of getting this to the market is a total different one,and therefore it isn’t broadly available yet.
    The result are remarkable, indeed inflammation is not seen. Esthetics are incomparable with titanium and people who say the can’t have titanium can have this zirconium material.
    It is more delicate to insert in the mouth of the patient and requires gentle insertion, not higher than 35ncm by insertion and good preparation of the insertion whole.
    Personally I think this material has a bright future, possibly in combination with biomaterials as active cementoblasts that could build a periodontal ligament around the ceramic implant. can you imagine, a periodontal ligament around a matrial that doesn’t inflame!!!

  23. About a year and a half ago I was scheduled to have two titanium implants installed plus some bone grafting for two future implants. A few weeks before I was going to have the work done I was on a trip and ran into my old doctor in the town where I used to live. He suggested I get ceramic (zirconia) implants rather than titanium because they wouldn’t interfere with the energy flow (accupunctural) in that area of the body. I called his dentist’s office and the receptionist there told me they did a combination zirconia and titanium core implant for people who react to titanium. My concern is energic reaction or blockage rather an allergic reaction to titanium in the body. I have found virtually nothing on the internet or this website addressing this issue.

  24. Be careful with Zirconia. Just like the quacks who would eagerly drill too fast and aggravate nerves when unnecessarily taking out mercury amalgam fillings…Titanium is proven and it works. Quacks also tried to blame mercury/thimerosal/vaccines for causing autism. Unless you have a real reason to use Zirconia; don’t! I am no fan of mercury but I hate quacks. I know people who had their dentists take out their mercury amalgam fillings which then caused them to need root canals. You don’t want to end up with a broken zirconia implant. USC professors of Neurology and Biochemistry and Dentistry have told me to leave my few remaining mercury amalgam fillings alone.

  25. Where can you get Zirconium implants? What countries, please? Addresses? In the US there is only one dentist who does them and she charges double what my Texas periodontist does for titanium.

    And I need 5 implants and a full-mouth reconstruction.

  26. Hi Mary Jo Drager,
    Zirkonium oxide implants are available in the US. The Swiss company Z-Systems has an FDA proven implant system in the US market. The implant system is called Z-Look3 and has more than 5 years clinical experience.

  27. My son is scheduled to have 2 titanium implants after his orthodontic treatment, but after watching a video on UTube by Dr. Mercola on his site, where he discusses the potential health hazards of Titanium implant and Zirconia as a preferred option for implants, it raised some concerns about titanium as my son has some health issues ie learning difficulties, recent MRI revealed lesions in the brain, fatigue, and wish to be as cautious as possible. Although my preferred option would be that he not have any implants and just have a bridge instead or bone regen, but he refuses to consider that option.

    His holistic dentist says she has a contact in the US that she recommends. When we mentioned a clinic in Spain that practises holistic dentistry she was not in favour of it because she heard reports that dental clinics in Spain were not using a reliable grade of zirconia. So now one must have to seriously research the quality of the zirconia used if one chooses that option or/and find someone reliable and trustworthy that undertake research on their behalf.
    regards
    Marina Namour

  28. zirconia is a definite material of osseointegration because of its inhert nature and also it is a oxide. the most important criteria to consider here is ageing of the material.inspite of its unusual strength and highest of all the ceamics,the implant material which is a yttrium or magnesia or cerium stabilized in tetragonal form has the tendency to convert(degarde) to monoclinical form. it has been proven in hip replacement therapy by using zirconia instead of titanium. if this feature of ageing can be manipulated,then it is the best choice as an implant material

  29. I guess a number of studies may outcome to ensure that zirconia implants are safe enough.
    We should take take with commercial interests that may lead us to use technologies that are not well known. Who guarantees that this implants will be integrated in 10 years?

  30. Dear Dr.Bogdan Vladila:

    I am working in my PhD in Natural Health and I am very interested in this argument zirconium vs. titanium.
    I would like to read your article about using angulated 15 degrees monobloc Zirconium Oxide Implants on Humans. Please send me the article in English to my e-mail”:thepositiveattitude@yahoo.com.
    Thank you. I’ll be waiting to hear from you.
    Cordially,
    Lucy Torres-Calderon

  31. IT WOULD BE VERY UNWISE to leave amalgams in peoples mouth I would have to say that such comment comes from not knowing enough about the subject, and it is based solely on the statement ” FAMOUS PROFESSORS SAY SILVER AMALGAMS ARE SAFE”—- I SAY THEY ARE VERY DANGEROUS As we all know, famous professors can also be mistaken if they have not done research in the subject. I had 5 silver filling that nearly killed me, i was very, very sick and couldn’t fuction at all. Finally and intelligent and concerned dentist that knew how much silver can negatively affect your health, send me to do some lab testing and found that i had too much radiation in my system from all the silver i had in my mouth. Specially if you happen to be allergic to such metal like i was; this dentist suggested to take out all the silver, and to be done very carefully as to not to end up in the hospital due to all the powder residue from the drilling in removing the silver mercury fillings. After the silver was replaced, i was also given some homeopathic remedies that i had to take for a few months, to be able to remove all the mercury from the tissues of my body that was affecting my health. I have also known people that never feel good, they are always tired and can’t think fast, their brains seem slow and perpexly confused and all that changes with the removal of such silver amalgam

  32. I just want to thank all of you for the opportunity to observe an intelligent discussion of something important to me. As with some other sites, the “good stuff” is in the comments rather than the original article. (goes back to lurking)

  33. Hello,
    I notice several years ago in this thread someone asked who did metal free implants in the unites states. Now that a few years have gone by and some are fda approved can anyone tell me dentists in the US that do zirconium implants?
    I am having a very hard time finding oral surgeons online that do this.
    I am looking particularly for California but would go anywhere for a great oral surgeon that does them
    I had a melisa blood test and have a proven allergy to Titanium. I figured as much as I had a titanium rod in my body that rashed up my skin and tried to push out of my body. Once it was removed the rash went away. So yes, there are people with titanium allergies!
    I need two to four implants in my upper back jaw ( 2 each side) as well as sinus lifts and bone grafts.
    So any doctors out there in the US that does metal free implants thanks

  34. Richard Hughes: “Valentina: You may be correct. However to date this issue is based on assumption and not true science but pseudoscience. Let’s face it the resin restorations have small % of agents that cause cancer. Plus, mercury is in our diet (fish) etc”

    Very many patients have reported ill health symptoms to recover after the removal of amalgam fillings. I am one of those patients. So for me that is not pseudoscience. Also, many people on a pure fish diet have reported similar symptoms. Doctors who constantly think they are “right” and patients are “wrong” and constantly plug their own products and opinions are losing their credibility.

  35. What we need is a cradel to grave study of those without mercury and those that have been exposed to mercury by fish and fillings etc. I also know that there are hypochondriacs and malingers in society. Some patients cling onto this stuff and do find doctors that support this due to personal gain. Yet some truely believe in these methods. It’s a free country and the patient can choose what they want.

  36. Hi Tracy, I’ve just been on a website of Dr. Lina Garcia in Schaumburg. Google her and you’ll find information.

    Christa

  37. Tracy,
    A couple of years ago I spoke with Dr. Moreno’s office in San Clemente, CA and they were awaiting the FDA approval of Z-systems implants. It seems the approval has come through! Good Luck!

  38. Dr. Ramin Homanfar in Reno, NV and Dr. Michael MArgolis in Mesa, Az both use Zirconia Implants.
    I am having one put in next month by Dr. Homanfar in reno, NV.

  39. Hi Tracy,
    Doctors Shutts and Evans, at Groton Wellness Dental Spa, are placing the Z-System Dental Implants. They are located in Groton, Massachusetts. If you have any questions, I’m sure either Doctor wouldn’t mind a telephone consult.

  40. With a family history of breast cancer & heart disease is there a higher risk with titanium (inflamation) or zirconium (radioactivity) implants ? How common is the zirconium implant being used in the Netherlands? Is there a recommendation? Zirconium seems less common & still in early days of development. Is this true? Thank you

  41. “What we need is a cradel to grave study of those without mercury and those that have been exposed to mercury by fish and fillings etc. I also know that there are hypochondriacs and malingers in society. Some patients cling onto this stuff and do find doctors that support this due to personal gain. Yet some truely believe in these methods. It’s a free country and the patient can choose what they want. ”

    I think what we need is more care in the “care industry”, not “cradle grave” assessments. Many people have symptoms from metals placed in their bodies, now is the time to move forward into new technology. Much more harm has been done in the past. MUCH.

    May I ask what you mean when you refer to “these methods”? I didn’t see what you were referencing to.

    Thankyou. And no offence meant, truly.

  42. Thank you all for keeping the discussion intelligent and articulate. The major advantage I can see with utilizing a Titanium implant system over a Zirconia one is the track record. We have somewhere around 50 year logitudinal data with Titanium systems which is huge and with so many cases being done most of the “kinks” have been worked out. There are also many options regarding abutment size shape etc. that help us idealize esthetics especially in the anterior sextant. Most inflamation I see associated with implant retatined prosthetics have to do with poor design or impingement of biologic width(the distance that living gum tissues need to be away from implants themselves). That being said the Zirconia systems look promising and in cases where there is a true allergy, the only way to go. I am looking forward to restoring my first patient with this exciting new tx modality.

  43. I’ve been looking at this for two days now (doing my own research) and have a couple of questions for other Doctors out there. When looking at the Periodic table Titanium and Zirconium are both metals in fact they are in the same family of elements. How do you not call Zirconia a metal? Look for yourself if you don’t believe me. This is misleading to your holistic patients telling them its a metal free alternative. Obviously in the oxide form it acts more like a ceramic but this is a misnomer calling it a ceramic. The other info I see here is people touting the benefits of Zirconia Oxide surfaces but Titanium when exposed to oxygen also makes a surface layer of Titanium oxide. Whats the difference? Zirconia is so brittle they are only making one piece implants. This would make restoring these much more difficult especially in the esthetic zone. Again I feel that in the case of a true allergy this might be the only way to go but until more research is done or you can get me some two stage systems I’ll stick with Titanium implants with Zirconia abutments.

  44. Are Mercury/Silver Amalgums a health hazard? Evidence is accumulating to that affect. Europe has banned their use. Also in this country (US) Dentists supposedly no longer allowed to use them in children under a certain age. Testing has proven they do leach Mercury at a level on par with eating one serving of Tuna once per day. Aren’t pregnant women advised not to eat tuna ANY DAY.
    When I had 5 Amalgums put in 15 years ago, the next day I felt I was coming down with mild flu. The next got a bit worse but not beyond that and stayed that way way indefinitely. Eventually I just got used to the feeling. My immune system gradually became weaker got sick all the time. Finally I developed Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, MCS (Multiple Chem.Sensitivity) and EMF Sensitivities (all are Immune system diseases) . Needless to day I almost died several times. I also ate a lot of fish for health reasons and loved to eat Tuna (regularly). Once I got the strength to research Amalgums and learned that Tuna contains mercury I cut out all types of fish known to have mercury. Within one month I improved greatly (and can think more cleary but FAR from cured )I now have plans to have my last two small Amalgums removed in a few weeks (now that I’m strong enough to).
    No one has to show me “proof” that mercury destroys all body tissue it contacts (including the enzymes that enable the body to detoxify). The immune system is so complex it may NEVER be fully understood so how can “proof” be found except in examples like me. Until mercury is finally banned in this country (like in others) more so called “hypochondriacs” will learn this fact the hard way.
    Ironically, why would dentists be required to dispose of old Silver/Mercury Amalgums as “toxic waste” and not other types of used fillings if they really are harmless?

  45. Zirconia is and will be THE MATERIAL OF CHOICE. It’s definitely more esthetic, and gums accept it more favorably, especially in immediate implantation cases…take a look of a very interesting way of thinking:

    http://www.bioimplant.at/

    Two Austrian MF surgeons developed unique concept of individual in lab CAD/CAM produced zirconia dental implants. Screwology establishments weren’t interested, maybe some of you will be…

  46. I have found this a very interesting and informative discussion on dental implants and titanium vs. zirconia implants. As a potential patient, I have been told by several dentists that implants would be recommended for me in certain tooth positions (several teeth are missing and some may need to be replaced). I need some major restoration, in other words.

    I am averse to putting titanium in my jaw, in spite of the reported 50 year history. I think the writer who commented on energy flows in the body (beside the issue of possible immune system suppression and inflammation) is an important one. I am a firm believer in acupuncture treatment and also in subtle energy flows on which acupuncture theory and practice is based. If it has worked in China for millenia, then maybe there’s something to it. I have had good results being treated with this method.

    What about the reaction and galvanic response of human tissue to different metals in the body? I have some bridges with semi-precious metals. Do I want to create a “battery” in my mouth? I don’t think so.

    One of the dentists commented that zirconia on the periodic chart of elements is shown as a metal. That is new information to me, since I had heard zirconia being compared to synthetic diamonds or being like them. I guess the critical question is, which material would be less reactive when installed in someone’s jaw bone? Admittedly, the history of zirconia implants for teeth is not as long as titanium, but zirconia has been used in prosthetics for many years, hasn’t it?

    I, too, have read about and been in contact with the two Austrian doctors (dentist and heart surgeon) who have been using zirconia implants (dentist does the actual work, but apparently consults with the heart suregon) with very good results and published papers
    to support their work and results.

    I, too, would like to request a copy of Dr. Bogdan Vladila’s paper on his work using zirconia (two-stage?) implant techniques and technology. What country is that in? My email: aquapete@cox.net

    As I said, I have found this discussion extremely helpful and have copied and pasted many of the entries to my word processor for further consideration and follow-up. I am pleased to learn that there are other dentists using the zirconia material beside the dentist in the Chicago area, which is a big trip for me in Phoenix, Arizona.

  47. Pete Creelman: You pose some interesting theories. That said one has to look at facts. Honestly no one really knows for sure if the metals are bad or not! We have theories, beliefs, and thoughts but we do not have hard facts on this issue. Biomechanically, application and cost wise the titanium will beat the zirconia material hands down. As for the galvanic reaction to titanium and a semiprecious bridge, it should be no big deal. I have only seen issues when the nonprecious metal of a crown or bridge touches the actuat titanium component. There is science and pseudoscience. We have people that have studied for years and years, have taken exams and wear white coats, These people are called and titled Doctor. Not somewon that watched a TV show or read a paperback book or two from a book from a health food store or hrard something from an old hippie.

  48. Tracy: Dr. Kenneth Whitworth, Temecula, CA uses Zirconia implants. Good luck…he’s going to do mine in a couple of months.

  49. Richard Hughes, I’d like to start by saying that I agree with your statements on biomechanical suitability. I’d just like to take a short moment to remind you that talking to mislead patients in a manner that is condescending may just drive them further away from good medicine and further propagate pseudoscience. I’ve found that carefully explaining WHY they have nothing to worry about and HOW these unproven stories are nothing more than folklore are good steps to garnering trust between the doctor and patient. Furthermore, we all know that you learn just as much every couple years in practice as you did the entirety of your schooling. That all comes from experience with patients and its a lot harder to get positive feedback from a guy who thinks his magic energy flow is going to shoot out of his titanium implant. I apologize for the hyperbole and any pontificating i’m guilty of have a nice day.

  50. Edward lookm at it like this. When the dental schools jump on the bandwagon for zirconia and metal free restorations then you know its hard science. Untill then it’s a big question. I can tell you this that thus far the crystal/ceramic implants are biocompatable however the restorative options are very limited. The patient will have to be ready to pay for the limitations.

  51. What about the gum recovery? I’ve had an implant right in front of my mouth (#8) for about 7 years now. It’s titanium and it’s a huge piece, completely integrated. The looks of titanium in my mouth never pleased me. Even with a very good protesis, you can see the metal through the gum, of course. And I’m not quite right about the reason why the gum around this area doesn’t seem to heal alright. Ever. Overall I have perfect teeth, I’m really careful. I brush and floss the implant area with really good care. But I still lost tissue there and got a gum grifting 2 years ago… Well, I’m losing gum tissue again. Besides that, from a few months I’ve been feeling this metalic smell every now and then. Could it be from my implant? (No, I don’t have any other conditions that could explain the smell).
    Is it a situation where one should give zirconia a chance? I am currently in Brazil, and just found out that it was approved here last year. The whole situation is bothering me so much that I would even replace my implant and start everything all over again if there was any chance that this new material could help…

  52. Has anyone had a zirconium implant? How long have you had it? Have you had any problems with it? Do you like it? Thank you for your help. These are big decisions. I have trigeminal neuralgia after 12 root canals from faulty dental cosmetic work. Now I have an infection in my bone and am considering extraction. Want to know the options. Worried the titanium will interfere neurologically.
    Sonia

  53. Someone in this thread asked about immune suppression with zirconium implants – from my own experience, because my 4 teeth were removed due to infected root canals, I was constantly sick at that time. Since the extractions and the implants, I am glad to say I have not had a cold in the last 16 months.

    Tracy, If you are still looking for a metal free implant surgeon – I had 4 zirconium implants done for teeth #12, 13, 19 & 30 sixteen months ago from Dr. DiGiallorenzo in Collegeville, PA. Prior to that I had consulted with two surgeons working with Titanium implants recommended sinus lift for #12 and 13. The whole procedure took about two hours with local anesthesia, no sinus lift was needed. The recovery was quick with no complications. X-rays taken two months after at my dentist’s office and it showed great integration with the implants.

    Alyssa from Chicago, Illinois

  54. I find this discussion fascinating because I recently had a negative reaction to a zirconia (Brux) crown. Approx 18 hours after the crown was placed, I began experiencing severe galvanic shocks about every 30 to 60 seconds. My dentist’s first thought was that I needed a root canal on the tooth but, it did not react positively to the specific root canal tests done by my endodontist. The galvanic shocks stopped immediately when I ate eggs (the known remedy for galvanic shocks.) The shocks would resume after 1-2 hours but would again stop after eating eggs. This continued for 2 days (and 6 visits to the dentist/endodontist) until the zirconia crown was removed and the galvanic shocks stopped immediately and completely and have not returned (5 days later.) I’m told it defies explanation but it happened to me. Any insight would be greatly appreciated as I am now traumitized by the experience and still have a temporary crown that will need to be replaced by another material.

  55. Rebecca, it is my understanding that you can only get a galvanic shock when there are two metals reacting to each other in the mouth where the saliva is present to provide the electrolyte to produce it. So that would tell me that the zirconia crown had some metal in the base (for strength) which is common for crowns. You actually have to request that the crown contain NO metal.

  56. June, Thank you SO much for taking the time to reply and for your explanation. I will make this request to my dentist as I DO still have the temporary crown. Thank you!!!

  57. Hi,I’m from spain and I had 4 zirconium implants.
    The recovery was quick with no complications. X-rays taken six months after at my dentist’s office and it showed great integration with the implants.

  58. “Judy says:
    How long do implants last for, on average? What breakdown happens as the time goes on?”

    I would like to know that.

  59. I recently was speaking with a peridontist. I was told that no matter if the implant is titanium or zirconium the crown would have to have a titanium screw to hold onto the implant as the zirconium ones are cracking. So either way we are having metal in our mouths? Is this the case?

  60. A reply for air. You don need to have a Titanium screw to fixate crown and implant. It is better to glue, the abutment to the implant and final the crown to the abutment. There will be no “microfriction” gaps, they let peri-implantitis be part of the whole discussion.
    Glueing is the solution to have a 2-way system with the best possible osseo-integration. There is no direct contact possible, while biting. This maximizes a possible 98% with the best zirconium surfaces. See mykeyproducts.nl and

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