metal and ceramic dental implants

These days, dental implants are touted as THE best solution for replacing lost teeth. And why not? They look great and function just like natural teeth.

But not all implants are created equal.

dental implant componentsYour basic implant typically consists of two parts. There’s the implant itself, which is surgically placed in the jaw to mimic a natural tooth root. An implant crown is then placed on top of it. Over time, implants become sturdily fixed in the supporting jawbone, providing excellent stability and preventing bone loss.

Most implant dentists today use titanium implants. It’s a metal that’s long been considered inert to bodily fluids and therefore biocompatible.

The trouble is that there are usually other metals mixed in with the titanium.

One German study, for instance, analyzed titanium samples from five manufacturers and found nickel in all but one of the samples – even an unalloyed “commercially pure” titanium.

Nickel is highly toxic, as is aluminum, which is added to some implants to help them integrate better with the supporting bone.

Research has found that titanium exposure may trigger allergic reactions in some people – and that those allergic to other metals are at higher risk of responding poorly to titanium.

Adding to the concern is that metal ions can be – and are – released from titanium implants under certain conditions. For instance, as periodontist Dr. Al Danenberg notes,

A 2016 study from the Journal of Periodontology (November 18, 2016) reported that bacteria around dental implants could trigger inflammation. In addition, these bacteria also caused corrosion on the titanium implant surfaces. Corrosion dissolved the titanium surface and released titanium particles into the surrounding periodontal tissues. These particles aggravated the inflammatory response.

Other research has shown that fluoride and hydrogen peroxide may cause titanium corrosion, as well.

Another thing that’s been shown to release titanium from implants is ultrasonic scaling – a sort of “power cleaning” for teeth that uses high frequency vibration to remove plaque and tartar from the gumline. This is particularly unfortunate since ultrasonic scaling is often recommended for treating lingering infection around implant sites, a condition known as “peri-implantitis.”

These kinds of issues and risks are why we choose to place zirconium implants in our patients who choose this option to replace missing teeth.

Zeramex ceramic implantBecause they’re ceramic, corrosion and metal toxicity are non-issues. There’s simply no metal to be released.

There’s also no chance of creating galvanic currents with any other metal you may have in your mouth. When there are different metals, saliva can act as a conduit. As naturopathic doctor Dawn Ewing describes it in her book Let the Tooth Be Known, “The oral cavity essentially becomes a living battery.”

This can result in chronic headaches, vertigo, psychological problems, epilepsy, hearing problems, and more.

Ceramic is one of the most broadly biocompatible and biologically inert dental materials available today. Because of this, ceramic implants won’t interfere with the flow of energy through your body’s meridian system. Barring injury or trauma, your body can stay in energetic balance.

Beyond this, ceramic implants are aesthetically superior. With titanium, if your gums begin to recede, the grey shadow of implants will start to show. Ceramic implants will maintain a natural look even if your gums do recede a bit.

With all that in mind, is there any question why we choose these for the patients we see at our Edmonds office? They’re simply the optimal choice for making a smile whole once again.

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