Titanium vs Ceramic Dental Implant
A dental implant is a restoration replacement solution for a missing tooth. The dental implant itself is a titanium post that is surgically placed into your jawbone. Over a few months, the implant and jawbone grow together. Once integrated, the implant will act as a natural root and will support an artificial tooth or crown.
Around 3 million people in the United States now have dental implants. Dental implants continue to grow in popularity with over 500,000 new implants being placed annually.
Ceramic versus Titanium Dental Implants
The two types of dental implants are ceramic and titanium. While the two types will appear similar in appearance, there are differences between them. Ceramic implants are just one piece, and titanium implants include a titanium post and then an artificial crown.
There are also differences regarding pricing, healing, and how long they will last. Titanium implants and ceramic implants both can become cracked and worn, but both can last for decades without trouble.
Titanium implants have a proven success rate. They have been developed and tested since the 1960s and have a 95% success rate. Titanium implants are made up of three pieces and are easy to place correctly. Ceramic implants are just one piece, and correct placement requires a higher level of skill. With titanium implants, your dentist will place the post, the implant, and once stable and secure in the jaw structure, will add an extension and the artificial tooth restoration, with more flexibility in placement for a very natural-looking placement.
Ceramic implants are a newer form of implant, but some patients prefer this type. Patients may have an allergic reaction to titanium, and then ceramic implants are the option. Ceramic implants have been in use in the US since 2009, and longer in Europe, but have not been in use for as long as titanium implants.
Ceramic implants are more likely to get small cracks and fractures. Various types of ceramic implants have been FDA-approved and are considered safe. Some patients feel that they lead to more natural-looking results, as the implant does not have any grey metal that might show.
Pricing, Safety and Longevity Comparisons
There is a price difference between the two. Ceramic implants are more expensive than titanium implants due to the manufacturing cost, and because the procedure to correctly place the implants is more time-consuming.
If you are hoping for the best cosmetic results, ceramic implants may be the better option even with the price difference. Both types of implants are considered safe. Both are FDA-approved and have gone through extensive testing. Titanium implants have been used longer, and any side effects or failures are understood more thoroughly. Both types of implants have been shown to be long-lasting and both can be repaired. Titanium implants last for an average of 20 years, and if the tooth restoration is cracked or damaged, a new restoration can easily be placed on the titanium implant.
Ceramic implants, also called zirconia implants, are also long-lasting, but as this type of implant was recently approved, how long these implants will last is not fully known.
The Recovery Time for Both Types
Because both implants involve implanting a post into the jawbone, they both require some healing time. There is not a significant difference in time required to heal. For both types, you can expect initial discomfort for about a week, easily managed with a pain reliever. After that, the healing process can take several months. The implant post will be integrating into your jaw during this period.
Which Type is Right for You?
When deciding which type of implant is right for you, the decision is personal preference. Older patients with thinner gum tissue might prefer ceramic to avoid the risk of the metal showing. Patients with concerns about an allergic reaction to titanium should consider the ceramic implants.