Dental Implants - Zirconium VS Porcelain

Dentist Articles

Dental implants are a commonly used method for replacing lost or damaged teeth. They are separated into three primary categories known as the endosteal, subperiosteal, and transosteal implants. Despite the different methodology used for each type of implant, they all have one thing in common. The common factor is known as the crown component. This component can be made from several different types of material, but will often look like a natural tooth. There are two types of crown material that are used most frequently in implant dentistry. Those material types are porcelain-fused-to-metal, and zirconium. Read on to learn more about dental implants and these crowns materials,

What are Dental Implants?

The dental implant is a type of procedure that is used to replace a tooth that has been lost or badly damaged. This type of procedure provides a permanent replacement tooth that looks and functions in a manner similar to a natural tooth. There are several types of dental implant. Three of the dental implant types used today are the endosteal implant, the subperiosteal implant, and the transosteal implant.

  • Endosteal Implant - This implant is the most common type used today. The implant looks like a tooth attached to a screw. The prosthetic unit will be implanted directly into the jawbone and will fuse with the bone over time. Sometimes this implant is referred to as an endosseus implant.
  • Subperiosteal Implant - This implant is not used that often currently. It might still be used when an endosteal implant is not possible due to jawbone health or density issues. The subperiosteal implant is placed on top of the jawbone, but beneath the gums.
  • Transosteal Implant - This implant is mostly used as an anchor for dentures and bridges when there are not available teeth to hook onto. The implant goes completely through the jawbone and is tightened beneath the bone. 

The endosteal implant is considered to be the most useful among these types of implants due to its high success rate and ease of installment. The endosteal implant has a 95% success rate after five years and it can cost between $1500 and $10000. The procedure has an average cost of $4250. Most of the variance in cost will come from the materials used in the crown, and any potential extra services required. Extra services might include tooth extraction or a bone augmentation. Bone augmentation is a procedure that is used to reinforce the jawbone so that it will accept a dental implant.

Zirconium Implants vs. Porcelain Implants

No matter which type of implant is used there is one common factor, the crown. The crown is a component of all dental implants that is designed to simulate the function and appearance of a natural tooth. It is the visible portion of the implant. The crown can be made from several different materials, such as porcelain or gold. The most common type of crown material used is porcelain-fused-to-metal. However, there is another type of material that has become synonymous with a high-grade dental implant, zirconium.

  • Porcelain-Fused-To-Metal - This material is less expensive and less fragile than a pure porcelain crown. It is also less expensive than a zirconium crown. If constructed well, this material can last for decades. However, it can chip and crack over time. The porcelain may come free of the metal that it is bonded with. It will also feature heightened sensitivity to hot and cold due to the conductivity of the metal used. Further, metal components can cause a black line to form at the gums.
  • Zirconium - This material is considered to be five times harder and more durable than porcelain. It costs a little more as a crown material. It does not chip or crack as easily. The material does not conduct electricity well, so it does not increase temperature sensitivity. Due to its material nature, it does not present a black gum line. Zirconium crowns can last just as long, and often longer, as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

Which Implant is the Best Choice?

The best choice for a dental crown is somewhat subjective. However, the best way to make your determination will be to decide on your budget. If you can afford to pay a little more, a zirconium crown is a clearly superior choice. If you do not have a considerable budget, consider the porcelain-fused-to-metal crown option. Both crowns will perform well and barring any material defects or personal injury, they will last for decades.


22 December 2014