Q: I am afraid to have titanium implants due to possible issues with having metals in the body that I have read on the Internet.I recently saw on a website some kind of ceramic non-metal dental implant alternative. What do you think?
A: This is a great topic as I have been reading several books this summer on new technology and how it affects society. We humans have become so accustomed to the release of new
consumer technology on an almost annual basis, that we often jump the gun and invest in these trinkets only to be disappointed.
I still have dreams of my old Blackberry and her lovely mechanical keyboard that provided hours of fondling pleasure. My fingers are so dry from using rubber gloves all day, that my
touch screen based iPhone is not “feeling” my fingertips. Moisturizing my hands only makes it worse and talking to Siri is like talking to a wall.
Ceramic, Non-Metal Implants
New is not necessarily “good”. Zirconia implants are a strong porcelain based implant made
of the same material that many all-porcelain, metal-free crowns are made. These appear to be useful for only two types of patients at this time: 1) Patients with a clinically proven
sensitivity to metal and 2) Cases in the esthetic zone of the anterior teeth in patient who show their gum line and have very thin gingiva that may show gray discoloration if titanium
implants are used.
To prove that you are truly sensitive to metals (a VERY rare condition), you would have to meet with an allergist for tests including a MELISA Laboratory test. Keep in mind titanium is the standard for all orthopedic pins, joints and dental implants with great success rates for decades. Titanium is also found in sunscreens and cosmetics.
The second indication above for ceramic implants is usually resolved by placing the implant below the level of the bone, like countersinking a wood screw, and then using a ceramic
post called an abutment to connect the crown to the implant. This will hide any metallic, gray line at the gum line.
Most importantly, the current gurus state: “Further long-term studies and clinical observations are required before zirconia can be considered as a replacement for titanium implants. Titanium implants are well -proven. Peri-iplantitis (gum disease around implants) remains a challenge around metal implants. If this condition is considered to be related to
allergies with titanium implants, zirconia implants exhibit less allergenic potential.
Personally, I have seen articles in the literature that have showed the early ceramic implants have fractured. This is not good. More studies are needed. Not EVERYTHING new is good.
We will be planning our next FREE seminar to the public at the Double Tree Hotel in Palm Beach Gardens. Teeth for Life XX, Hi-Tech Dentistry 2017. Drop us an email or call us to receive all the details once confirmed.
Dr. Mitchell Josephs practices Implant, Cosmetic and General Dentistry with an emphasis on implants, porcelain veneers, and complex crown and bridge treatment. He is on staff at JFK Medical Center and is a Faculty Advisory Board member at McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry. He completed his residency at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital.
By Dr. Mitchell Josephs