Types of Dental Implants
If you are considering dental implants, it is important to understand your options. There are pros and cons in the various types of implants, and you need accurate information, so you choose right – for you.
There are many factors to consider, including pricing, safety, and reliability. While some types of implants have been in use decades, recent developments and new products and procedures could yield better results. Some materials used in dental implants (titanium) may cause an allergic reaction in some patients.
Dental Implant Basics
Dental implants have become one of the most popular tooth restoration procedures in the USA, and have many benefits, including:
• Function appear to be natural teeth
• Improved speech
• Eat all the foods you enjoy – no restrictions
• Durable and long-lasting
• No slipping, adhesives, or discomfort
• Perfectly match natural teeth
• Full sets (4 on 1 implants) are available to replace top, bottom or both sets
Ceramic vs. Titanium Dental Implants
The two types of implants are ceramic implants and titanium implants. While the two types appear similar in appearance, there are many differences between them. Ceramic implants are one piece, and titanium implants involve a titanium base and an added upper tooth restoration which will be secured once the titanium portion of the implant has become stable within the jaw structure.
There are also differences in terms of pricing, healing, and how long they last. Titanium implants and ceramic implants both could become cracked or worn, although typically they last for decades without trouble. The degree of damage will determine what repair process will be necessary.
Titanium implants are a tried and true type of implant. They have been developed and tested since the 1960s and are almost always successful in the long term. Titanium implants are strong and are resistant to cracks and fractures.
Titanium implants are made up of two pieces and are easier to place correctly. Ceramic implants are one piece, and correct placement requires a higher level of skill from your dental practitioner. With titanium implants, your dentist will place the base (the implant) and once stable and secure in the jaw structure, will add the tooth restoration, with more flexibility in placement for a very natural-looking placement.
Ceramic implants are a newer and form of implant, but many patients prefer this type. Some patients may have an allergic reaction to titanium, and ceramic implants are the only option. Ceramic implants have been in use in the USA since 2009, and longer in many European countries, but have not been in use for as long as titanium implants. Still, many dentists use ceramic implants with satisfying and long-lasting results.
Ceramic implants are more likely to get small cracks and fractures, but the repair process is simple. Ceramic implants can be reconstructed much like a natural tooth. Various types of ceramic implants have been FDA-approved and are considered safe. Many patients also feel that they lead to more natural-looking results, as the structure does not have any grey metal that could show through the gum structure. If you need to replace many teeth or a full set, ceramic implants could be the option that will work best – but only a full professional evaluation of your teeth and jaw structure can truly reveal what option is recommended for you.
There is a price difference between the two types of implants. Ceramic implants are more expensive than titanium implants in part due to the manufacturing cost, and in part because the procedure to correctly place the implants is more time-consuming.
If you are hoping for the best cosmetic results, ceramic implants may be the superior option even with the price difference. With titanium implants, there is an inherent risk that the color of the metal may eventually show through the gums.
Which type of implant is safer?
Both types of implants are considered safe. Both are FDA-approved and have gone through extensive testing to be allowed on the market. Titanium implants have been used in the dental arts for longer, and any side effects or failures are understood more thoroughly. One important note: to date there have been no documented cases of allergies or adverse reactions to the materials used in ceramic implants – an advantage for those with concerns about metal allergies.
Which type of implant lasts longer?
Both types of implants have been shown to be long-lasting and both can be repaired in a failure. Titanium implants last for an average of 20 years, and if the tooth restoration is cracked or damaged, a new restoration can be placed on the titanium implant.
Ceramic implants (also called zirconia implants) are also long-lasting, but as this type of implant was more recently approved, how long these implants last is not fully known. The substance used to manufacture ceramic implants may be more prone to cracking. Repairs can be performed should this occur.
Which type of implant will heal more quickly?
Because both implants involve implanting a base into the jaw structure, they both require some healing time. There is not a significant difference in time required to heal. For both types of implants, you can expect initial pain for about a week, easily managed with pain medication. After that, the healing process can be from three to six months. The implant structure will be integrating into your jaw during this period.
Which type of dental implant is right for me?
When deciding which type of implant is right for you, much of the decision is personal preference. Older patients with thinner gum tissue may prefer ceramic implants to avoid the risk of the metal showing through. Patients with concerns about an allergic reaction to titanium should move forward with ceramic implants.
Dr. Charles Briscoe offers professional guidance and high-level dental skills at his practice in La Jolla. At La Jolla Dental Care, we have a state-of-the-art practice, with the most advanced treatments and technologies, and can place either titanium or ceramic implants.
Interested in Dental Implants?
If you are interested in dental implants, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Charles Briscoe at La Jolla Dental Care. He is an acclaimed dental professional practicing in La Jolla, serving the entire San Diego area. Known for his skills in cosmetic dentistry, he can assist in full tooth restorations, and a full scope of advanced cosmetic dental treatments.
Dr. Briscoe can help you make an informed decision about tooth restoration with the use of dental implants. There is no better option in San Diego than La Jolla Dental Care for a beautiful smile.