When to Choose Titanium vs Zirconia Dental Implants
Titanium has gained a tremendous amount of popularity in the last 20 years, in both medical and dental fields. From hip replacement to knee replacement to dental implants, titanium has demonstrated high success rates in millions of patients.
It is successful because it is highly resistant to corrosion and the cells love to attach to its surface, a phenomenon seen under high-resolution microscopy. The most common risk associated with dental implant placement is infection, especially since there’s a high number of bacteria in the oral cavity. The risk of infection can be minimized by taking a prophylactic antibiotic one hour prior to your procedure and sometimes even for a few days following your procedure.
But what about a titanium allergy? Some practitioners believe that the titanium allergy does not exist. An allergic reaction is an excessive immune reaction when coming in contact with a certain substance. Some researchers believe that if a patient suffers from multiple metal allergies, then they have more of a likelihood to develop a titanium hypersensitivity. It is advisable that if you have multiple metal allergies to get tested in order to avoid failure of an implied due to an allergic reaction to titanium.
In the 14 years I’ve been practicing, I have never seen a true titanium allergy. A dental implant fails either due to infection or overload, very rarely due to an allergy to titanium. Very few tests are available to determine the titanium allergy. The most accurate to date is MELISA test, which is a blood test. However, this fast can you give false positives.
If someone is allergic to titanium, then I recommend zirconia dental implants or non-metal dental implants. Zirconia dental implants are actually ceramic dental implants, they are not metal. Because they are ceramic, they can break more easily than the titanium. Because of this, we see a higher failure rate of that zirconia implants when compared to the titanium dental implants.
With advances in technology, this will change. Since we have so much more research about titanium dental implants, I do recommend these instead of the zirconia dental implants, because they generally last longer.