Dental implants are artificial teeth that replace your missing teeth. Unlike fillings and crowns which only replace a portion of your tooth, dental implants replace your entire tooth. Considering that dental implants are inserted into your jawbone, it’s natural to wonder what material implants are made from. Natural teeth are biological structures made from a hard outer shell, nerve canals, and blood vessels. On the other hand, dental implants are 100% artificial teeth made from three distinct parts: implant post, abutment, and implant crown. Here’s a closer look at the material used to fabricate each implant part:
Implant post material
Implant post is the portion of implant that sits inside of your jawbone. Implant posts are made from one of two material, Titanium or Zirconia.
Titanium dental implant posts
Titanium alloys are the most common material used to make implant posts. This is because titanium is sturdy, light-weight, and bio-compatible. Titanium does not cause allergies and it can handle your bite forces. This makes titanium an excellent choice for replacing missing teeth. In fact, titanium is also used for hip and knee replacement, which is a testament to just how reliable titanium is.
Zirconia dental implant posts
If you’re looking for a metal-free tooth replacement option then ceramic implant posts might be more to your liking. Ceramic implant posts are made from Zirconia and they are metal-free. Ceramic implant posts are hypoallergenic and they are as durable as their Titanium counterpart. Keep in mind that ceramic implant posts are much more expensive than titanium implants. This is because the technology is newer and there are only a handful of implant companies that design ceramic implant posts. However, if you suffer from autoimmune conditions or metal allergies, then Zirconia implants might provide a better alternative to Titanium implants for you.
Implant abutment material
Abutment is the intermediate part of your implant that connects the implant post to the implant crown. Abutments are made from many different material, such as metals, gold, ceramic or a combination thereof. The choice of material for abutments is not as critical, since your abutment is neither visible nor does it sit inside your jawbone. The vast majority of dental implants are restored using a stock metal-based abutment. If your tooth is in a visible region, like your front tooth, it might not be a bad idea to consider upgrading to a Zirconia abutment instead. Ceramic abutments are white and natural-looking and better match your natural teeth. This is especially useful in the anterior region where your abutment may end being slightly visible. Keep in mind that ceramic abutments are expensive, so be prepared to pay additional to upgrade to a ceramic abutment.
Implant crown material
Implant crown is the visible portion of your implant. The crown is the actual portion of the dental implant that replaces your missing tooth. Implant crowns are similar to any other dental crown in terms of material. Most implant crowns are made from either porcelain-fused-to-metal or Zirconia. You can also get a gold crown, although gold crowns are not as common nowadays.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal implant crown
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, abbreviated PFM, consist of an inner metal layer and an outer porcelain layer. The metal provides chewing strength whereas the porcelain provides a natural-looking appearance. PFM crowns work well in most cases, as they are both sturdy and beautiful.
Ceramic implant crown
Ceramic crowns are superior to PFM crowns. First off, ceramic is stronger than porcelain, which mean ceramic crowns are less likely to fracture under bite pressure. Ceramic crowns are one piece, and they don’t have any metal on the inside the way that PFM crowns do. As a result, ceramic crowns look more realistic than PFM crowns. Ceramic crowns are usually recommended for restoring your front teeth so you can avoid having metals from showing. They are also the preferred treatment option when there is a heavy bite present or for patients who suffer from orthodontic issues (such as a crossbite) who are at a higher risk of breaking their crowns. Lastly, ceramic crowns are metal-free which makes them the preferred treatment option for those seeking a holistic dentistry approach.
What is the best material for dental implants?
To be honest, when it comes to dental implants, technique and experience is far more important than material. Implant material is only a small part of the equation. Implant design, thread count, diameter, internal parts, etc. all factor into the final outcome. The majority of patients who get a dental implant receive a Titanium implant screw, metal abutment, and Zirconia crown. If your tooth is a very aesthetic front tooth, you might want to upgrade to a ceramic abutment. If you are 100% holistic, then you might want to invest into a ceramic post as well.
Your dentist will help you determine which type of implant, abutment, and crown is best suited to your needs. There are many factors that affect the final outcome of your treatment, such as your medical history, aesthetic concern, bite forces, etc. These all need to be taken into consideration when treatment planning your dental implant. Work with your dentist to designb the perfect implant treatment so you can be 100% satisfied with the final outcome. To learn more about different dental implant materials, call us at (949)481-2540 or send us your dental implant questions online.