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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Florida Integrative Dentristry Article

Dec 31, 2015 02:06AM

Not Your Grandpa’s Implant Material 

by Carlo Litano, DMD, PA  


Ceramic dental implants provide better aesthetics, a more permanent tooth replacement solution, and better biocompatibility than titanium implants, metal implants, dental bridges or dentures. Conversely, titanium is susceptible to corrosion, resulting from contact with saliva and other bodily fluids. Corrosion can also occur in dental implants due to stress caused by bite forces. In fact, the same bacteria-borne acids that cause tooth decay could also potentially corrode titanium implants over time, although further research on this issue is still required. 

As titanium corrodes, it creates an electromechanical disturbance in the body, causing pain and discomfort. Ultimately, this can lead to the body rejecting an implant altogether. Therefore, this broken-down titanium can cause metal toxicity as it seeps into the soft tissue, blood stream and even bone. Symptoms include irritation and burning sensations in the soft tissue, pharyngeal swelling, labored breathing, narrowed larynx and abdominal pain. In addition, titanium oxide nano-particles have been shown to induce emphysema and lung redness in adult mice. 

The surface of the remaining metal structure becomes more abrasive as it breaks down which can contribute to bone loss, as well as becoming a factor in soft tissue irritation. Compared with a superior implant material like zirconia, titanium has an especially difficult time bonding with gum tissue. 

Allergic sensitivity to titanium is also a concern. Studies have shown that 20%–25% of the population suffers from various types of metal allergy, and titanium allergies, specifically, are believed to occur in 4%–10% of all people. Symptoms include oral ulcers, hyperplastic gingivitis, oral dryness and loss of taste. 


The Newer, Better Implant Material 

Ceramic dental implants made of zirconia possess numerous positive attributes that stand on their own merits. It is worth noting, however, that none of the risks regarding titanium, are a significant factor with zirconia implants. Zirconia is a bio-compatible, nontoxic material, and is not a known allergen. In fact, patients, who have replaced titanium implants with ceramic alternatives due to a titanium allergy, have experienced full-mouth rehabilitation from their allergy symptoms. 

Another benefit of zirconium implants correlates with how well the gums react to this material post-surgery which lessens incidents of gum disease, high inflammation and implant failure. Conversely, titanium products tend to create lingering and unpleasant complications, including gum disease and inflammation, which is likely caused by free radicals present in the metallic materials. 

Finally, the long-term health benefits presented by ceramic implants include its proven ability to resist plaque build-up, making it easier for patients to care for their implant teeth and sustain oral hygiene. Plaque accumulation leads to higher bacterial counts in the mouth and, ultimately, to high levels of toxins and inflammation. 

Whether you’re concerned about potential complications presented by metal in the mouth, you are simply looking for a more natural result, ceramic dental implants are a safe and effective alternative to titanium dental implants. Holistic dentists generally offer ceramic dental implants to their patients precisely because they support a metal-free philosophy. Therefore, it’s no wonder that I have long been placing ceramic dental implants in my patients. The real question is, why isn’t everyone else? 


Dr. Carlo Litano specializes in holistic and integrative dentistry, and received his Doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University’s College of Doctoral Medicine. He practices at Florida Integrative Dentistry. For more information and to schedule a complimentary consultation, call 941 216-0725. 


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