Titanium vs Ceramic Dental Implant
Once you and the dentist have determined a dental implant is the best treatment plan to replace your missing teeth, you will need to determine what kind of dental implant is best for you. The two main types of implants are ceramic and titanium with differences in structure, price, lifetime, healing time, and repair needs.
Titanium is the traditional material used for dental implants; it has been used successfully since the 1960s. It is a strong material that resists cracking and breaking and fuses with bones easily. Titanium implants are composed of two pieces so the dentist can place the implant at the precise angle to best fit the replacement tooth next to your remaining teeth. The titanium post will be placed below the gum during one appointment and then the dentist will add the false tooth to the post during another appointment after the post has healed into place.
The newer implants, also called zirconium implants, have been used in the United States since 2009 and even longer in Europe. While these implants have not been in use as long as titanium, dentists have documented long lasting results. Ceramic is more prone to cracking and fracturing than titanium, but it is a better choice for people who are sensitive or allergic to titanium. Ceramic implants are composed of one solid piece so the placement is a more complicated procedure. The dentist will not be able to use a ceramic implant for an angled placement because of the solid structure. Some people prefer the look of the ceramic implant because it looks more like a natural tooth without the gray titanium metal showing near the gums.
Titanium implants are less expensive than ceramic implants mostly due to the cost of making the implant. Some of the additional cost is due to the more complicated procedure involved in placing the implant properly.
Which type of implant is safer?
Both titanium and ceramic are FDA approved and proven safe after extensive testing. Due to the length of time titanium has been used, there is more data on those implants. Ceramic implants have no documented cases of allergic reactions to the materials of the implant.
Which type of implant lasts longer?
Without the same time on the market, the exact lifetime of ceramic implants is not known yet compared to the 20 year average for titanium implants. For titanium implants, if the false tooth is damaged, it can be replaced on the same titanium post. If a ceramic implant is damaged, cracked, or fractured, the dentist can repair it in most cases depending on the damage.
Which type of implant will heal more quickly?
Titanium and ceramic implants are both placed below the gumline into the jaw bone so they both need time to fuse with the bone over the next three to six months. Neither one should heal faster than the other and the pain from the initial placement will last about a week. The dentist will be able to recommend pain medications to manage the discomfort.