The therapeutic use of dental implants has become as an integral part of dentistry and is based on the biological and functional stabilization of the implant in the surrounding bone tissue called Osseointegration. The established material of choice for the manufacture of dental implants is titanium or a special titanium-zirconium-metal alloy. The evolution of surgical techniques and industrial manufacturing processes of titanium implants has been perfected to such an extent that at present risk patients with a chance of success of more than 95% can be implanted.
The development of the high-performance ceramics zirconium dioxide opened up new, metal-free treatment options for both patients and practitioners. Due to its superior biomechanical and biocompatible properties, zirconia has prevailed over other oxide ceramics and has been used in dentistry for about 25 years.
In recent years, zirconia has also been considered as an alternative to titanium in dental implantology. A large number of different ceramic implant systems now make it possible to treat partially edentulous and edentulous patients.
Although scientific studies have shown that microrough surface zirconia implants are as likely to grow into bone tissue as titanium implants, many users are still very skeptical about the clinical application of commercially available products.
Titanium implants as “state of the art”
Due to its excellent tissue compatibility (biocompatibility) and corrosion resistance, titanium is nowadays the most commonly used material for the manufacture of dental implants. The good biocompatible properties of titanium are not dependent on the metal itself, but on the chemical composition of the implant surface. This chemical composition is predominantly characterized by a thin “dioxide layer” that forms on the surface of titanium implants when exposed to air, without controlling or protecting the surface atmosphere. Therefore, it is important to know that titanium is not a bio-inert material, but the surface layer of the dioxide layer gives it a bio-inert character.
The most recent innovation in titanium implants is the introduction of a special titanium and zirconium alloy for the manufacture of dental implants. This metal alloy also allows the production of a highly osteoconductive and microrough surface identical to that of pure titanium, but offering improved biomechanical properties compared to that. Due to the increased breaking strength, it was possible to ensure, for example, the extension of indications for diameter-reduced implants.