What materials are used in dental implants?

Dental implants are often seen as the premium choice for replacing missing and failing teeth.  Implants can be used to support crowns replacing single teeth, bridges that restore a larger span of missing teeth, and even full dentures.

What are dental implants made from?

The first modern dental implants were made from titanium, a strong and light material that fuses well with human bone. This process is known as 'biocompatibility'.  Tooth implants made from titanium have a 95 percent success rate, according to the Oral Health Foundation, and can last a lifetime with a proper mouth-care routine.

However, there are some factors to keep in mind when considering titanium implants.  A tiny percentage of people can have an allergic reaction to titanium.  There are also some concerns about aesthetics; if the gum line were to recede or thin, the implant may leave a visibly darkened outline under the gums.

Are there alternative materials for dental implants?

Some patients might be recommended zirconia dental implants as an alternative to titanium.  The ceramic material is hypoallergenic, meaning it does not trigger any allergies or sensitivities.  Zirconia implants have a natural tooth colour, and there is little risk of a visible outline under the gums.  Like titanium, zirconia is biocompatible.

What are the differences between titanium and zirconia?

Titanium implants are usually made from two pieces; the implant screw, which replaces the tooth root, then an abutment, which is added to connect the screw with the crown (the visible ‘tooth’).  This two-piece system enables titanium implants to be placed deep into the bone, as each part can be inserted separately.  These components are usually placed at different times.  Zirconia implants are mainly one-piece implants.  This means the procedure can be completed in one session.  Zirconia implants can, however, be harder to insert.

Both dental implant materials have their strengths and unique characteristics.  Your implant dentist will advise on which material to use, based on your individual requirements.

Regardless of the material used in your dental implants, finding an implant dentist with the right training and experience is a key factor for dental implant success.  Click4teeth is the UK’s largest directory of clinics providing tooth implants to replace missing teeth.  We can help you find an implant dentist, located near you.  Usually, no referral is necessary from your general dental practitioner.  Browse our UK directory of implant dentists.