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Titanium Versus Zirconia Dental Implants


Titanium Versus Zirconia Dental Implants

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I recently read a natural news article that said titanium can cause neurological ill effects. I currently have two titanium dental implants and will be getting a third dental implant soon. Are zirconia implants safer? If so, should I switch my titanium implants out for the metal-free ones?


Dear Chandler,

titanium and zirconia dental implants

I am glad you wrote and think I can save you a lot of distress. First, I would be interested in seeing the article you are referring to if you could send it to me. My suspicion is they are just writing these statements as facts without any actual scientific documentation to back it up. I find it doubful they provided any links to scientific studies. The reason I say this is I work hard to keep up with the most recent research in this field and have seen no studies that said there were any neurological affects from titanium.

While it is a metal, it is inert and extraordinarily biocompatible. In fact, it has been used for decades for prosthetics throughout the body, not just for dental implants, but also for hip replacements, knee replacements, and quite a few other things. There is also decades of data tracking patients who’ve used titanium prosthetics and none of them have had issues with the materials.

There are zirconia dental implants which are metal free. There is nothing to say there is anything wrong with them. However, they are newer so there is not as much data. This does not mean that they are sub standard, just that they haven’t been around long enough for us to track their longevity, etc. in patients.

You should be aware that not all dentists provide them yet for that reason. Some dentists just prefer to use the tried and true options they’ve always relied on. If you do want a titanium implant I am certain you can find a holistic dentist or metal-free dentist who provides them. Just make certain that they have the post-doctoral training necessary to place them. As you know from your previous implants, it is an advanced procedure that requires surgery.

Look for a dentist who is a fellow with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. These are the top of the line implant dentists with advanced training and proven skills. Bonus points if they can perform the surgery themselves. This prevents there being any miscommunication between the dentist and the oral surgeon. If you cannot find a dentist who performs the surgery themselves, than just make sure that it is the dentist who determines the implant placement and not the surgeon. This is essential.

As for switching out the current implants, I do not recommend that. When they are removed, they will take bone with them. In order to replace the implants you will need new bone grafted into the area. There is always a risk of dental implant failure and to replace them you will need three surgeries. One to remove the implants; one for the bone grafting; and one to replace the implants. Each new procedure increases the risk of implant failure.

This blog is brought to you by Mt. Dora Dentist Dr. Michelle Stillman.