Implant abutments made of zirconia have been used extensively during the past few years. Nonetheless, the diamond hard, tooth colored material still introduces the possibility of a slight discoloration when the abutment is attached to a titanium implant device.
A few companies in Europe (Nobel Biocare, Oral Iceberg, Straumann, and others) have been experimenting with an all-zirconia implant device that shows great promise of being a titanium replacement offering improved periodontal health.
Dental plaque is better controlled and allergic reactions to titanium are eliminated. Gingiva is reported to create a snug fit around the implant, attesting to improvied biocompatability issues.
Straumann is planning to introduce a new zirconia-titanium alloy later this year. Experiments using zirconia implants suggest that they integrate into bone as well as titanium.
Will Zirconia Replace Titanium?
Zirconia implants are being used in Europe to replace teeth in anterior locations with good results. One study in Germany reports that survival rates are as high as 96.6 percent.
One piece zirconia implant devices currently do not offer the flexibility that today’s two piece titanium implants can provide. Oral Iceberg (Spain) is working on the development of additional implant designs that will offer adjustable features.
Ara Nazarian, DDS
1857 East Big Beaver Road
Troy, MI 48083