Zirconia dental implants, also known as ceramic implants are artificial tooth roots made of zirconium dioxide (ZrO₂) that dentists place in your jaw to replace one or more missing teeth.
if you have lost one or a few natural teeth, every dentist will advise you to replace them as soon as possible. The reasons are very simple to guess: first because without some dental elements it is much more difficult to eat properly; second, but not less important, it is be very embarrassing to talk to people and show them holes in your dental arch.
There are several ways to fix the lack of teeth and ceramic implants treatment is the most new, aesthetic and healthy. The main downside is that the zirconia implants cost is not so affordable as you may think.
In this article we will focus on differences between ceramic dental implants vs titanium made because this is the most asked treatment option by patients. Of course the standard solutions like dental bridge anchored to natural dental elements or partial dentures are still valid and affordable alternatives.
Zirconia implants advantages and features
No corrosion or degradation using ceramic
What is corrosion and how is it connected with my dental implants ? what are the risk for my health ?
Titanium is a metal and as all other metals in damp or wet environment it starts a chemical reaction that leads to corrosion. In other words, as soon the titanium implant has been placed in your mouth, it starts to corrode. The chemical reaction increases if there are other metals in the proximity (for example: porcelain-fused-to-metal crown or partial dentures with metal framework).
In addition, the metal corrosion reaction increases if fluoride-containing products are used (toothpastes and mouthwashes).
During the reaction, micro titanium particles move from the implant to the surrounding gum tissue and even into lymph nodes.
Ceramic implants are made of zirconia that is a biocompatible and bioinert material that doesn’t trigger any chemical reaction at all. So there are no chemical risks for your overall health.
Zirconia implants are hypoallergenic
The number of people who suffer because of allergies is increasing year by year and allergy to metal too. Accordingly with recent studies, titanium sensitivity affects 4% of people in the world and in most cases, the side effects revel after implants are placed in the jawbone of the patients.
Of course there are a few methods to know in advance whether a person has metal allergies and sensitivities before to proceed with the dental surgery. The most known test is MELISA test (http://www.melisa.org)
If you choose zirconia implants, you don’t have to worry because of allergies, zirconium is hypoallergenic meaning that metal-free implants do not cause any strange reaction in your body.
Compatible with holistic dentistry approach
Holistic dentistry approach tends to consider dental health in the context of the patient’s entire physical and spiritual health. That said, zirconia implants are bioinert so they do not interfere with the energy flow that moves though the body’s meridians and mentioned in the holistic philosophy.
One-piece Vs two-pieces ceramic implants
What does it mean one-peace Vs two-peace implant ?
when the implant screw is attached with the abutment. In other words, the part of the implant that goes into the jaw cannot be separated from the part that holds the crown or serves as dentures base.The most important advantage of ceramic one-peace implants is that plaque cannot accumulate in that tiny micro-gab in between the screw and the abutment simply because that space doesn’t exist.The most disadvantage was that dentists had to place zirconia dental implants in a very precise way (at the correct angle). Adjustments of the angle after placement was very difficult, almost impossible in many cases.
There are two peaces when the part of the implant that goes in the bone is separated from the abutment. Most titanium dental implants are designed in 2 peaces. Many zirconia implants manufactures are now producing 2 pieces ceramic products too and they work exactly as those made by metal.
More natural and esthetic result with Zirconium Oxide
Zirconia dental implants offer more aesthetic result; let’s see why.
There are two different reasons: using ceramic screws they cannot be noticed in case of very thin soft tissue (gums). Since zirconia components are white, they work and look like a normal dental root. After years, gums tend to recede leaving visible a little part of the implant. In case of your dentist used metal implants, a kind of greyish color will gleam through the tissue. This is ok for the posterior restorations, nobody will see it but what about anterior teeth like incisors and canines ? using zirconia implants in the anterior teeth will avoid this problem.
Zirconia doesn’t conduct any electrical charge
Unlike titanium, zirconium dioxide is a non-conductivity material meaning that implants made of it do not interact with electromagnetic fields coming from devices like those we use daily (smartphone just to name the most used). In other words, there will be no electrical or electromagnetic activity in your mouth.
Recent studies reveled that non-conductivity is directly connected with less bacteria growth on the surface of the ceramic implants.
This is a very good news because bacteria are the first cause of surrounding tissue inflammation that leads to peri-implantitis and promotes the implant failure.
What about zirconia implants success rate ?
Accordingly with recent studies, zirconia and titanium have the same success rate of 98.5% in regards the osseointegration capability. In addition, it seems that implants made by zirconium promote a higher soft tissue attachment so the final aesthetic result will be better compared with that you can reach with a titanium implant.
How to care of my new ceramic implants ?
Even if you don’t have teeth in your mouth and the dentist replaced them with zirconia dental implants, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to care of them.
There are a few simple rules to follow in order to keep your new ceramic dental implants clean and your gums healthy. Let’s see how to do that at home and at the dentist.
Brushing and flossing will help you to keep your new dental prosthesis and your gums healthy.
Dentists always recommend to brush twice a day and to floss one time especially before to go to sleep.
In order to avoid bacteria grow in your mouth, you can also use mouthwash solutions with chlorhexidine but be sure to follow your dentist advices because chlorhexidine may stain your prosthetic crown.
Last but not least, remember to visit the dental office two times a year for the professional teeth cleaning (in this case implants and crowns).
Dentists have to pay particular attention during the ceramic implants cleaning in order to preserve their surface.
Many implants manufacturers recommends to use teflon-based hand scalers and curettes only.
In addition, abrasive prophylactic pastes as well as powder/water jet cleaners are not suitable for cleaning zirconia Implants..
How much do zirconia implants cost ?
Average cost of zirconia implants
In order to provide our visitors with the average zirconia implants cost, we did a research asking for quotes and, most of all, gathering patients experiences.
The price you can read below is for one-piece ceramic implant meaning that the abutment is already attached to the screw. In addition, we took into account the one-stage placement procedure; in this case the patient can leave the dental office with the new took without the need to wait for the healing time. Obviously the two-stage procedure increases the final cost for the zirconia implant because more appointments are required.
So, what is the zirconia implant cost we found out there ?
Single zirconia implant + connected abutment cost = $1640.
Abutment (not needed because already attached to the implant).
Zirconia ceramic crown = $550.
Total cost = $2190.
Factors That may affect the price
- Brand (manufacturer): many manufacturers invest a lot of money in clinical research and marketing that’s why their products price is more expensive than others. Please remember that choosing the most known or expensive implants doesn’t mean that they are the best for you. It depends on the case to be solved and each case is different than other even if they seem very similar.
- Localization: we already know that that renting or buying an office in a big city is more expensive than in small villages; The employee’s salary is more costly in the cities compared to that in the rural countries. For all those reasons you may expect the cost for your zirconia implants will be higher if you live in very populated cities. The country you live in may also affect the price of dental treatments. For example: US and UK are more expensive than Mexico or Hungary.
- The particular dentist/surgeon experience, specialty & popularity.
- How many professionals are involved in the procedure:
- Complexity of the oral surgery.
- Initial exams or technical procedure such as: X-Rays, 3D Dentascan or TC.
- Additional oral procedures such as sinus elevation or bone grafting to support the implant.
Does insurance cover the restoration using ceramic dental implants ?
Unfortunately, most insurance plans cover 10% or less of the total cost of conventional dental implants. It is very common for dental insurances to cover part of the price for more traditional solutions such as dentures or bridge.
Titanium and zirconia implants are still considerate as cosmetic procedure. In other words, insurances cover the price for the most affordable solution to replace your missing tooth or teeth which is the denture. If you want to go with a more aesthetic solution then you have to pay out-of-your-pocket.
Fortunately things are change very fast. More and more insurance companies understood that implants last longer than other restoration options so they started to offer some coverage. They prefer to pay ones for your implants than twice or three times for bridges in the same period of time.
You should ask your insurance company if implants are covered by your plan. If they aren’t, then you can talk with your dentist to find out if they offer facilities or affordable payment plans.
Most known worldwide ceramic implants manufacturers
CeraRoot S.L EUROPE
Josep Umbert, 128
Phone: +34 93 768 39 62
Sigma Implants Switzerland
Phone: +44 33 000 10 427
Bredent medical GmbH & Co.KG
Weissenhorner Str. 2
Phone: +49 (0) 73 09 / 872 – 4 40
Fax: +49 (0) 73 09 / 872 – 4 44
Phone.: +49 9842-9369-0
Fax: +49 9842-9369-10
Tel. +41 62 388 69 69
Fax +41 62 388 69 70
Phone +41 (0) 44 388 36 36
Fax +41 (0) 44 388 36 39