A dental implant is a long-term restorative option for replacing a missing tooth that retains bone height and density and does not involve drilling adjacent teeth to prepare for a bridge. Ceramic (zirconia) implants - which represent the same 97% success rate for strength and longevity as traditional titanium dental implants – provide superior integration with bone and tissue as well as improved aesthetics (no metal visible between tooth and gum). Ceramic also offers a biocompatible material that does not generate or conduct a galvanic current in the electrolytic environment of saliva – an increasingly critical quality with release of 5G Wi Fi.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small screw-like structure that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. After extraction, a dental implant represents a conservative, long-term restorative option. While other options exist to replace missing teeth, and may be recommended for specific cases, an implant is the only permanent restorative option that does not involve compromising (drilling on) surrounding teeth. Dental implants can be made from titanium (metal) or zirconia (ceramic). If given a choice, Meetinghouse Dental Care only places and recommends zirconia ceramic implants.
What is Zirconia?
Zirconia is a non-metal substance commonly confused with zirconium.
Zirconia is NOT Zirconium. Zirconium does not naturally exist in its pure form; it reacts rapidly with silica and oxygen to form the mineral zircon, a golden-brown mineral mined as the main source of zirconium. The chemical element zirconium is located under titanium on the periodic table and has similar properties. It is a very hard, grayish metal resistant to corrosion, often used for spaceships and nuclear reactors.
Zirconium is chemically changed to create the ceramic zirconia, a non-metal white crystalline oxide. Zirconia can withstand different temperatures, existing in several forms while maintaining the exact same formula (ZrO2). The main presentation with which everyone is familiar is Cubic Zirconia, the low-cost gem that resembles a diamond. Tetragonal zirconia is a stabilized ceramic and is the zirconia found in dental restorations.
To recap the three forms: Zircon = the mineral Zirconium = the metal Zirconia = the ceramic
Meetinghouse Dental Care uses 3D CBCT imaging to virtually seat and preplan all implant placement cases for our patients, creating a meticulously accurate procedure. After mapping out the exact size, angle, and placement of the implant, the implant is screwed into the jaw through a painless procedure (there are no nerve endings in bone through which to perceive discomfort). The bone heals around the implant in about three to four months. PRF and ozone are utilized during the implant procedure and will facilitate proper healing. Adequate levels of D3 and K2 will support bone healing as well.
Why a dental implant?
There are a number of reasons why you might consider a dental implant. Implants preserve jaw bone density and height, avoiding the torque and erosion that can be caused by a bridge. They also avoid the necessity of cutting down good tooth structure on either side of the extraction site for anchor crowns for a bridge. Implants recreate the original tooth dynamic, so flossing remains easy. Implants also avoid teeth shifting after extractions. Finally, there are no loose parts to take in and out, as with a partial. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is needed after placement. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.
How much do dental implants cost?
The fee for a single dental implant depends on several factors. There are multiple types of implants, each appropriate for different situations. Every surgeon / specialist will have their own fees for dental implant placement and an accurate quote should be obtained directly through their office. The main reason for price variance is the difference between 1 and 2 piece implant systems. A 1 piece system is when the entire implant is one solid piece with no gap, cement, or screw connecting the body and the abutment. A 2 piece system is where the implant body is placed and an abutment is connected later. There are certain situations where the 2 piece system is required, such as the need to angle the abutment to create an aesthetic crown placement, but the payment for the abutment increases the overall price of the implant.
1 Piece vs 2 Piece
The last step of any implant, after all healing and bone integration occurs, is the placement of the crown. Meetinghouse Dental Care uses all ceramic crowns in the restoration of implants to create a metal-free, beautifully aesthetic outcome. Even if a patient presents in the office with a prior placed titanium implant, we will restore it with an all ceramic crown in order to maximize esthetics and minimize galvanism.
Why Ceramic Over Titanium Implants
It should be noted that both titanium and zirconia implants integrate with bone to provide long-term restorative options that replace a tooth without compromising surrounding teeth.
However, Meetinghouse Dental Care only recommend zirconia implants. Studies show that bone and gum growth around a ceramic zirconia implant is more prolific than around titanium, resulting in a more natural-looking tooth. The white colored zirconia provides an aesthetic appearance.
- Grey metallic color
- Weak metallic bonds
- Thermic conductor
- Electric conductor
- Possible oxidation
- Possible corrosion
- Solid white color
- Strong covalent bonds
- Thermic insulator
- Electric insulator
- Oxidation resistant
- No chemical corrosion
Moreover, titanium (metal) implants and abutments can create galvanism (energy discharge) when the metal interacts with the electrolytic saliva or with dissimilar metals already in the mouth. Ceramic zirconia produces no galvanic effects, thus generating neither biofilm/bacterial growth nor the inflammation that accompanies elevated galvanic environments.
Another potential issue with titanium is allergy. The creation of “pure” titanium implants requires a nickel catalyst. Independent testing shows that even pure titanium implants contain 2% nickel, an extremely allergenic metal. In fact,titanium implants only have to be 96% titanium to be called pure titanium. The other 4% contains nickel and trace amounts of aluminum, beryllium, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, iron, hafnium, manganese, molybdenum, palladium.
Finally, increased deployment of 5G Wi Fi - commercially available worldwide in 2020 – raises concerns over conductivity of titanium implants (antennae) of 5G millimeter wavebands. European researchers claim 5G heats titanium implants 4 degrees and initiates corrosion and loosening of implant.
NOTE: Titanium and zirconia ceramic implants are both foreign objects placed into the body, no different than a knee or hip implant; if you are immuno-compromised, consult your healthcare practitioner
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is a Candidate?
Anyone who is missing one or more teeth may be a candidate for dental implants. The height, width, and density of the jawbone as well as location of sinuses, etc. will determine if an implant can be placed in a given site. A consultation with a dentist can give a better general idea for your individual situation, but a 3D CBCT scan should be utilized to measure and determine the exact bone density in the desired placement side. The specific size and type of implant can be chosen, and virtually seated to create a perfectly accurate and individualized treatment plan.
Is old age a problem?
Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits of dental implants. Health is more of a determining factor than age, If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants. Certain chronic diseases may contraindicate dental implant treatment. Your dentist will determine if your a candidate for dental implants after careful evaluation of your dental & health history.
What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures or a dental bridge?
Improved appearance: When you lose the entire tooth - crown and root - shrinkage of the jawbone may cause your face to look older. Dental implants can stop this process. A traditional denture or dental bridge doesn’t.
Preserve natural teeth: With traditional dental bridges, teeth adjacent to missing teeth are normally ground down to be used as anchors for a dental bridge. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify healthy teeth.
Permanent solution: There are no loose parts to worry about losing. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is need after placement. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.
How much time is required for a dental implant placement?
The dental implant placement can take a long time from start to finish. After a tooth is extracted, it typically takes three to four months for the bone to heal in and be ready for a dental implant. After placement, three to four months is required for the bone to integrate around the implant body. Sometimes, due to individual factors, healing can take longer.
If the tooth has been missing for a long time, the initial recovery time does not play a factor. If no infection presents in the extraction site (or if the dentist utilizes ozone and PRF to clean the site and promote bone healing), an implant can be placed immediately, at the time of extraction. When extracting an infected tooth or a re-infected root canalled tooth, we recommend NO IMMEDIATE PLACEMENT unless extracting dentist utilizes ozone and PRF.
How will dental implants affect my life?
Dental implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth. This means that you can eat and drink whatever you choose. But most importantly, dental implants often improve quality of life in a very concrete way. People who have felt embarrassed and worried because of their tooth problems are often overwhelmed by what new permanent teeth can do for their self-esteem.
Will my new teeth look natural?
When dental implants are used in combination with modern restorative dentistry, their appearance, comfort and function are very likely to exceed your expectations. Often they are hard to tell apart from your natural teeth.
Will I be able to chew with the same force and pressure I use with my natural teeth?
Yes. Following a brief adaptation period, chewing capacity is comparable to that of natural teeth.
Is the treatment painful?
With any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Placing one implant normally causes less discomfort then placing several. Anesthesia and patient sedation are commonly administered to help reduce any discomfort during the dental implant process. Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated. Your doctor will prescribe medications to ease any discomfort that may occur. Ask your dentist to recommend another patient who has already had tooth replacement therapy to assess their personal experience.
How will I feel after the treatment?
It is normal to have some bruising and swelling in the gum and soft tissues. But usually the discomfort, if any, is minimal and you should expect to be able to work the next day.
How will I care for my dental implants?
Your new teeth must be cared for and checked regularly, just like your natural teeth. While the implant itself cannot decay, it may develop plaque or calculus build up if left unclean. Gum problems surrounding the implant can also occur like gingivitis if home care is neglected. Brush and floss as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist. See your dentist in six months, or more frequently if so advised.