Types of Dental Implant Materials — Titanium vs Zirconia

Today’s modern dental implants were developed through an accidental discovery in medical research back in 1952. A Swedish doctor by the name of Branemark found that when titanium was placed into contact with bone and left undisturbed, the bone grew right against the surface making the titanium objects unremovable without cutting out the bone around the titanium. This then developed into today’s implants.

HISTORY OF DENTAL IMPLANT MATERIALS

Prior to this and even since then, other materials have been tested and tried. Vitreous carbon was one material which worked very well in fusing to bone, but being brittle and having other issues made it impractical for use as a dental implant. Titanium seemed like an ideal material—its properties made it useful, practical and predictable. The initial implants were pure titanium, but they were a bit too soft so an alloy was developed to overcome the negative properties.

Since titanium dental implants have been in use, there has not been one report of an allergy or reaction to the metal itself. Nevertheless, there are some people who have either an allergy or sensitivity to other metals (e.g. prevalence of nickel allergy is about 5%) and/or simply have concerns about any metals within the body.

ZIRCONIUM – THE METAL-FREE OPTION?

implant system

In order to allay these concerns and have an implant option for these people, several companies have conducted further research and development into “metal-free” implants. This has led to the use of another metal called zirconium, which is just one row below titanium in the chemical periodic table. Zirconium first became popular in its crystalline cubic zirconia form due to its resemblance to a flawless diamond. For dental use, it is used in the form of zirconium oxide ZrO2. It is not pure ZrO2—there are trace amounts of another metal called hafnium (Hf) and the oxide is combined with yttrium (another metal) to improve its properties. The result is a white opaque-looking product and in this form, labeled as a ceramic, although there are metal atoms within the material.

With the search for alternative implant materials, it was discovered that zirconia also fused to bone (osseointegrated) much like titanium. It first became approved for use in Europe in 2008 and in Canada in 2013.

Both materials can integrate with bone with equal success provided certain protocols are followed. We do, however, have a much longer history with titanium. Some of my patients have titanium that is still functioning after 20-35 years. We may find the same success with zirconia, but until the material has been tested for the same amount of time as titanium, we simply will not know.

ZIRCONIA VS. TITANIUM – ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

dental implant

Advantages of Zirconia Dental Implants

No dark colour of the metal showing through the gums

No corrosion of the zirconia as with titanium

No piezo-electric currents between dissimilar metal in the mouth

It is thermally non-conductive

Disadvantages of Zirconia Dental Implants

Zirconium implants (the implant body and the post or abutment) on the other hand, are made as one piece. Therefore, the only option for the prosthetics is to cement the teeth into place. Secondly, there is very little room for error—one has to be very careful not to place an implant at an improper location or angle. Therefore surgical placement and volume of bone is absolutely critical.

With titanium implants, I am often able to place the implant, leave it buried under the gums and graft the area simultaneously. If it had been a zirconium implant which sticks above the gums, the ability to graft would be reduced or risky, and may need to do a separate procedure first to ensure the bone is 100%.

Both types of implants require several months for the bone to fuse or grow against the implant before we can place the final teeth. With one-piece zirconia implants, this healing phase can be a little more tricky as we cannot bury the implant under the gum tissue. if there is pressure or movement of the implant, it will not osseointegrate.

Another concern is the long-term strength. We no longer see fracture of titanium implants since the alloys were introduced, but zirconia implants have been known to fracture. If this occurs, usually the only option is to remove them and that can create a large defect in the bone. The smaller diameter implants (3.25 mm) are at the greatest risk. Therefore anyone with heavy function (clenching or grinding) probably would not be an ideal candidate for zirconia.

Advantages of Titanium Dental Implants

Titanium implants are much more versatile than zirconia because they can be made as one piece or two-piece systems. In two-piece systems, the implant replaces the root and is generally placed at the level of the underlying bone. Attached to this is a post or abutment—the part that sticks through the gums and is used to support or attach the teeth.

Two piece systems are a lot more versatile and offer many more options prosthetically. They can be used for overdentures (removable teeth) that snap into place as well as permanent teeth that are cemented or screwed onto the implants. Additionally, the implant can even be placed slightly off-angle and an angled or customized post can be fitted to correct it. Zirconium implants can also be modified if they are slightly off but are not as prosthetically ideal as what can be done with a separate post.

In some cases, placing an implant slightly off-angle is not a surgical error, but rather a necessity due to the volume and location of bone in the implant site. I could go on for pages, but basically titanium implants offer much more versatility with the final teeth and flexibility with their surgical placement.

Disadvantages of Titanium Dental Implants

The only downside of Titanium implant is that the metal implant is visible under light, it also causes concern for a minority of people with a history of allergy to metals.

Dr. Hung & Associates Dental Center

5 out of 5 stars based on 45 Dental Implant reviews.

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Service was impeccable, pain level very easy to handle”( “Everything about the treatment was extremelyprofessional. Very poor teeth to begin with. Had xrays, consultation, proceeded with treatment of 9 root canals, two extractions, placement of posts. Also two implants fitted with many crowns & bridge. Highlyrecommend to any friend or family. Service was impeccable, pain level very easy to handle and the end result was beyond expectations – very happy. Will return in 6 months to have extraction and two new teeth fitted. Chose this clinic because the cost of equivalent work in Australia was way too expensive. The clinic was recommended to us by a friend living and working in Saigon. Exceptional service and on par or better with any top clinic in Australia.”

- Mark O’keefe

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Having had a root canal treatment a number of years ago and a number of other teeth that were in poor condition due to football and some neglect I knew that I needed to get some dental work done. My wife also had some issues with her teeth so we decided to make a holiday of it at the same time. I ended up having four veneers and a crown done and could not be happier. My wife required some implants. I would most definately recommend Dr HUNG and Associates to anyone who is wondering about the decision to travel to Vietnam to have their teeth done and already have so to several friends. A work colleague recommended Dr HUNG in Ho Chi Minh city. On our initial visit we were amazed at the quality of the equipment, staff and the professionalism from everyone in the complex. The 3D scans that they do of your mouth picked up issues that my wife was not aware of. To be honest there probably was some shock initially of the work that was required but Dr HUNG and the staff sat down and explained our options leaving us to make the final decision. Once the decision was made the work was done in a very professional and helful manner. Being met at the front door to the surgery by the front desk staff who were always so helpful and caring and that attitude carried through with all of the staff during the duration of our stay helped to make it all go easier. The overall cost was a fraction of what it would have cost in Australia and the results speak for themselves

- Andrew Campbell

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

“I had an implant and crowns and fillings.The Doctors and staff were very helpful and professional. The attention to detail and the hygienic facilities were exceptional. The procedures undertaken were all quoted and reasonably priced. I have no hesitation in recommending Dr Hung and his staff. I was referred to Dr Hung by a friend who had extensive dental work undertaken and he recommended the Clinic to me. On my first visit I was shown the facilities on all 4 floors and was impressed with the cleanliness of the Clinic. All works are performed on site by professionals in their fields.

- Thomas Giles Cliffer

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

“This is my third visit, it was beautiful and i found good staff and doctors. I had 6 implants, 4 crowns and root canal treatment at a reasonable price compared to Australia and i’m happy with the results.I was recommended by my friends in Australia and i will also recommend Dr. Hung Dental Center to all my friends and family to come here.”

- Dragos Ursu

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I would highly recommend anyone needing dental work done to contact Dr. Hung” “It’s my second visit at Dr. Hung clinic as a follow-up to initial work done in January 2016. In January, I had 7 implants plus 7 crowns in the bottom jaw and i have to wait 6 months for bone healing aound implants. In July visit was to have my permanent crowns on implants fitted and then i had additional 6 crowns & bridges done. As an overview of all dental work done by Dr. Hung clinic is 7 implants and 21 crowns. I was extremely happy with the dental work and care so I would highly recommend anyone needing dental work done to contact Dr. Hung because of the very high standard of dental work I received, excellent, friendly staff that work here. And also, it was less than 1/3 the cost of having this work done in Australia.

- Jeffrey Grillmeier Frank

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I selected Dr Hung and Associates after searching the Internet and could not be more satisfied with my choice. It is certainly Five Star, personnel, facilities, treatment and results all the way. I have recommended Dr Hung and Associates to two of my friends who also tell me they are very pleased with their results.

- Brian S

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Having had a root canal treatment a number of years ago and a number of other teeth that were in poor condition due to football and some neglect I knew that I needed to get some dental work done. My wife also had some issues with her teeth so we decided to make a holiday of it at the same time. I ended up having four veneers and a crown done and could not be happier. My wife required some implants. I would most definately recommend Dr HUNG and Associates to anyone who is wondering about the decision to travel to Vietnam to have their teeth done and already have so to several friends. A work colleague recommended Dr HUNG in Ho Chi Minh city. On our initial visit we were amazed at the quality of the equipment, staff and the professionalism from everyone in the complex. The 3D scans that they do of your mouth picked up issues that my wife was not aware of. To be honest there probably was some shock initially of the work that was required but Dr HUNG and the staff sat down and explained our options leaving us to make the final decision. Once the decision was made the work was done in a very professional and helful manner. Being met at the front door to the surgery by the front desk staff who were always so helpful and caring and that attitude carried through with all of the staff during the duration of our stay helped to make it all go easier. The overall cost was a fraction of what it would have cost in Australia and the results speak for themselves.

- Kathy Campbell J

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Highest standards higher than any surgical wards I have seen in Australia. My treatment at Dr Hung and Associates has been more than succsessful. I could not find anything wrong with any of the services provided. I had 23 teeth extracted and all on six top and bottom jaws. Over the two weeks I had 8 appointments and everything ran smoothly. after the long agonizing research Dr Hung stood out the most. they were on the ball with everything ,quick response with emails and made me feel very welcome. The center itself is of highest standards higher than any surgical wards I have seen in Australia. I have no problems at all if anyone needs to chat about getting teeth work with Dr Hung

- Tina R

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

We have made a right decision to come to Dr. Hung Dental Center. (5 Apr 2016) We have been in pain for very long time and afraid to see any dentist because it's very painful for me but we finally we have made a right decision to come to Dr. Hung Dental Center. It was a very big job took them long hours to do what they had to do but they did everything they needed to. Me and my husband had implants, bone graft, crowns, extractions, root canals. Our friends has been to this clinic and they were happy and this how we decided to come. They have latest technology equipments, experienced doctor, all the staff will make you feel comfortable and forget about the pain that will make you think only the future. From the bottom of my heart, the nurses are fantastic, unbelivable. We are very thankful to our friends for letting us know about this clinic, we are more than happy with the results. I will recommend this clinic to everybody, the prices can match everybody's pocket. "

- Maria H

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Dr Hung & Co are a very professional dentistry practice, offering the very best in dental treatment. They are also caring and provide excellent value for the work done. the dentistry treatment was well explained and performed with dental work carried out in steps that were fully explained to us prior to the work done. The clinic was recommended to us by friends and we found it to be world health standards with the latest technologies available to dentiry. We found the staff conciderate and kind with a great care given to patients.

- Tony D

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I can tell you that I take the right decission to come to dr hung's clinic. My treatment was included, one extraction, bone graft, sinus lift, two implants, two bridges and the rest of teeth capings/ porcelain. Not much of pain, I took only couple of panadeine forte for the first day..They look after me very well and professional.. I would recommend this clinic to everyone, the place, the staff and everyone else here are very friendly,and also you can meet so many people from all around the world here. Also the city is very interesting, you'll meet the locals,very friendly and kind.

- Mariana R

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I was treated most recently by Dr.Hung & staff for 3 Implants ,bridges & 8 crowns. Treatment was above excellent and Dr. Hung is personally involved with his highly skilled team of doctors. Assessments are clearly explained to patients. Team is very caring and professional.All equipment are state of art technology as well as dental materials used are of the highest quality. Front line staff are very helpful. All are English speaking. Entire operation of Dr Hung is in a very hygienically controlled environment. To me Dr Hung is a highly dedicated person to his work which he is very passionate about. I will recommend Dr Hung and team without any reservations.

- Brian N

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I now have a healthy mouth. I have been very worried and fearful of dental treatment due to bad experiences in the past. Dr Hung and his team, (special thanks to Dr. Lan) were very patient and considerate of my needs. I now have a healthy mouth and lovely teeth and smile. I am so relieved and happy. The clinic has very high standards and the latest equipment. The friendly attentive staff made are a stand out. My treatment was quite involved and extensive. The high standards of hygiene and the consultative approach made me feel comfortable. I did lot's of research beforehand. Dr Hung's facilities, high standards and quality materials used gave me confidence

- Joyce S

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I had 3 root canals, 4 extractions, a bone graft and 24 crowns as my teeth were in very poor condition, full of fillings and very yellow. I would (and have been!) telling friends about the fantastic result of the treatment, and about the professionalism and care of the dental practitioners involved in my treatment. Considering the very impressive result, the treatment has been very good value in terms of both financial cost and restoring my confidence and smile. I chose this clinic after a friend suggested I travel to Vietnam for my dental treatment, as he had had great work done at a very good price. My friend suggested I look for a clinic on WhatClinic, and I found the reviews on there about Dr Hung's clinic very encouraging. My treatment took a little over two weeks and the staff and practitioners were wonderfully supportive and understanding. These are true professionals who really do care about their patients."

- Jennifer B

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

For me who are scared to death every time I am thinking of a dentist, this people really made me relaxed. I am so impressed by the professionalism and how clean and hygienic it all is. All have a smile on yheire face so that you feel very welcome. In this clinic, you can be 100% confident that they are honest and serioese. Highly recommended with all the best from Lill-Anita, Lofoten Norway

- Lill-Anita S

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

The quality control at Dr. Hung & Associates dental centre is first class. The standard of cleanliness was outstanding. The dentists took pride in their work. I also found many Australia visitors at the centre who had previously had dental work. Very reassuring on my choice of dental centre. I recommend the centre and give it 5 star rating.

- Vince P

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

My husband and I attended Dr Hung's clinic. I had 2 abutments + 2 crowns attached to implants which had already been inserted in NZ, and 10 crowns and 2 fillings - cost $5300NZD . My husband had 2 posts inserted, fillings and 4 crowns $1800NZD. At our appointment time we had the following - high tech xrays, a recommended treatment plan (which is discussed and you sign and agree to what you want completed), treatment started straight away, a 2 hour session and again the following day. A day off (while the crowns were made in their on-site Lab) Then one more day of fitting the crowns etc and we were completed. They arranged a Follow-up appointment to fit in with our plans which was arranged for about 10 days later. We paid half prior to starting treatment and the final half at the end of treatment. Dr Hung is in attendance at the clinic to oversee all work. We were extremely impressed with the clinic altogether from beginning to end. The entire process was efficient, painless and of high technical standard. We cannot find fault in their service in any way and will highly recommend them to our friends and family who may require any kind of dental treatment from simple to extensive orthodontal services. Thank you to the entire team from the receptionists, the technical assistants, the dentists and of course the rest of the team who allow a streamlined service to run so efficiently and effectively. Teresa and Bernie from New Zealand. By the way, the work we had would have cost us over $20,000 at home

- Teresa

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I had 19 porcelain crowns put in (the 20th tooth went walkies between gums). The process invloved grinding my teeth to sort of sticks. all together 6 appointments. two 4 hour ones to grind the teeth down 2 days in a row, upper and lower jaw one day at a time. There was a fake replica put on my teeth while porcelain crowns were being made. the 3 days later the crowns were put on. I saw really good reviews on whatclinic. So I went down to the clinic to get the first impressions. And the were great. I signed up straight away. The best decision I made. It was worth it. I highly recommend it.

- Asad A

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

very friendly and professional and no pain

- tamara edwards

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

this is my first time to do a tooth implants , I'm very happy with treatment i got at Dr.hung centre , it was more than what i was expecting , professionalism was the main thing , i was so afraid to do a tooth implants and dr.hung and his staff make it so much easy for me , they listen to the customer and they deliver a good job with quality , i come all the way from middle east of OMAN to do it , and I'm very glad i did , and for sure i will go there again . I recommend this dental center to anyone loves his teeth 😉 ATIF AFIF

- ATIF A

5 out of 5 stars on