Titanium vs Ceramic Dental Implants
People considering dental implants to restore missing teeth should be aware that there are advantages and disadvantages of the various implant types. Reliability, safety, and pricing are considerations and while some implant types have been used for decades, new procedures and products may produce better results. Some patients may have allergic reactions to the materials used in dental implants making choice of material an important consideration as well.
This article will discuss the benefits of dental implants with a focus on the two primary material types used: titanium and ceramic.
Dental Implant Benefits
Quickly becoming the restoration procedure of choice for missing teeth, dental implants have several benefits including:
- Look and function like natural teeth
- Improved speech
- Enjoy foods without limitation
- More comfortable
- Will not slip out of place the way conventional dentures do
- Do not require adhesives to hold in place
- Match the natural teeth
- Can replace a single tooth or a full set of teeth
Titanium vs. Ceramic Dental Implants
Dental implants come in two types: titanium and ceramic. While similar in appearance, there are several differences between the two types. Whereas ceramic implants are a single piece, titanium implants have two pieces: a titanium base and the prosthetic tooth that is mounted to it once the implant is stable and fully fused with the jawbone.
The two implant types also vary in price, longevity, and healing time required. Both ceramic and titanium implants can last for decades but cracking and wear can occur. The extent of damage will dictate the necessary repair process.
Developed and used since the 1960s, titanium implants have a virtually unblemished long-term success record because of their strength and resistance to fractures and cracks. Made of two pieces, titanium dental implants are easier to correctly place than their ceramic counterparts and do not require as high of a level of skill from the practitioner.
A newer form of implant used in the United States since 2009, ceramic implants are preferable to many patients and may be the only viable choice if the patient has sensitivity to titanium. Despite not being in use as long as titanium, most find ceramic to offer equally satisfying and long-term results. Compared to titanium, ceramic implants are more prone to small cracks or fracturing but repairing any damage is simple.
Because of the manufacturing cost involved and procedure to place them being more time consuming, ceramic implants cost more than titanium versions. Despite the cost difference, patients seeking maximum cosmetic results may find ceramic to be the superior choice because the color of titanium could show through the gums.
Which Type is Safer?
Both implant types have undergone extensive testing to be considered safe by the FDA. Titanium implants have been in use longer so the side effects or complications are better understood but to date, no known cases of allergic reaction to ceramic have been documented.
Which Type Lasts Longer?
Both implant types require surgery to implant the base into the jaw but there is no significant difference in recovery/healing time. Post-surgery pain is typically manageable with pain medications and total healing time could take three to six months.