Do you need a dental implant and do not want to or cannot use titanium? Perhaps you are allergic or uncomfortable to have metal in your mouth? There are several reasons to choose ceramic implants. But can they keep up with the tried and tested titanium implants? And why are they so much more expensive?
Why ceramic implants are a suitable alternative
Titanium has been used successfully by dentists for dental implants for years. It has been tried and tested, has a high level of stability, and is well tolerated by most patients. An implant made of pure titanium is out of the question for patients with allergic reactions or intolerance who are worried about the stress on their organism from metals.
Ceramic implants are a suitable alternative to replace missing teeth. There are, however, some special features that you should know to avoid the risk of malpractice.
What properties does the ceramic implant have?
The metal-free alternative is a very ordinary implant screw, only they comprise a special and high-strength ceramic, zirconium dioxide. Zirconium dioxide is a very stable and unbreakable material that is suitable for medicine and dentistry. In contrast to titanium implants, these are very often used as a one-piece system, making it more difficult to apply the actual dentures. In the meantime, however, there are also two-part systems that can be glued together. Some teeth are only suitable for a one-piece implant. Here, your dental practice will tell you. Fixed dentures should be your top priority.
The metal-free implant can be used most times, for example, to replace individual teeth, for bridges, and to anchor removable dentures. We mainly use it in the anterior region because it is less visible.
So, if titanium is not an option for you, ceramic offers you some advantages.
The advantages of ceramic implant briefly:
Ceramic does not release any particles into your tissue and is not dissolved by your saliva, which could release substances.
Unlike metals, you cannot develop allergies and intolerances. Extensive studies have shown that ceramic is very well tolerated by tissue. It thus excludes subliminal inflammation and a toxic effect of your implant.
If you have high aesthetic standards, use ceramic implants. They are white and therefore, unlike dark titanium, do not shimmer through your gums. Even if your gums recede a bit, they are much less noticeable.
Better gingival deposition
Ceramic is not only well tolerated by your tissue, but your gums also even like to attach to the ceramic implant. Studies have shown that gums grow better on ceramic than on natural teeth. You can thus prevent gum recession, which often occurs with titanium implants.
Low risk of ignition
Ceramic is a material that bacteria dislike. This can also help prevent peri-implantation, an inflammation around the implant.
You cannot completely prevent possible inflammation through the choice of material, but as any bacteria hardly accumulate on the surface of ceramic implants, the risk is low.
The disadvantages briefly:
But there are also some downsides that you should know and consider. Above all, the lack of long-term experience, the complex treatment at the dentist, and the high costs make some patients shy away.
Low empirical values
In contrast to titanium implants, there are no decades of experience or studies. That does not mean you cannot trust the ceramic implants. Ongoing studies suggest good longevity. You should just be aware beforehand that long shelf life has not yet been proven with certainty.
When making your decision, consider the high price.
The material zirconium oxide is more expensive than titanium and manufacturing the implant is also more complex for the dentist: They cannot be used as immediate implants directly after the extraction and the insertion of the dentures on the implant is more complex.
Tip: When comparing the prices for dentures, you can save some money.
Long healing time
The biggest drawback compared to titanium is the slower healing process. Bone cells grow better on titanium than on ceramic. Therefore, the healing time for ceramic implants takes longer.
Ceramic implants not only heal more slowly, but they are also not at all resilient at the beginning. Whereas dental prostheses can now even be screwed onto titanium implants directly after implantation, you must protect the ceramic implants with a splint after insertion.
Because of their structure and material, ceramic implants are less flexible to use. An abutment is screwed onto a conventional titanium implant, onto which your dentures are then screwed. This abutment can have different angles and thus influence the position of your dentures. Since it is not suitable for screwing on an abutment, one-piece ceramic implants are often used.
It is therefore not possible to correct the angle at which your denture will stand after we have inserted it. The implantologist must therefore plan the position of your implant very carefully and should have experience with ceramic implants.
Two-part ceramic implants are now also available. Here the abutment is not screwed to the implant, but glued. You cannot have your abutment replaced here, as is possible with screwed-on titanium implants.
The advantages and disadvantages briefly
- Very well tolerated by the organism: no risk of allergies or intolerance
- Ideal for thin gums: does not shimmer through
- Good for the gums grow better on the implant
- Hardly any deposit of bacteria: reduced risk of inflammation
- Cannot be charged immediately
- Significantly higher costs
- Must be protected from stress at the beginning with rails
- Healing and integration into the bone takes longer than with titanium
- No years of experience yet
- Less flexibility because of the structure
Ceramic implants – the cost
Ceramic implants are significantly more expensive than conventional titanium implants.
There are several reasons for higher costs:
- higher material costs for the zinc dioxide ceramic
- expensive production, because of more complex manufacturing processes
- the higher effort for the dentist, higher treatment costs for you
Dentist costs differ depending on where the ceramic implant is to be used.
For a single tooth implant in the anterior region, you pay around € 2,600 – € 3,600, while in the posterior region it costs a little less approx. € 2,200–3,500.
With the price comparison, you can find a good and cheap offer here.
Ceramic implants: does health insurance pay?
Your statutory health insurance does not cover any costs for implants, regardless of whether it makes them of titanium or ceramic. However, you will receive a fixed allowance for the dentures placed on them.
Private health insurances and additional dental insurances often cover implant costs, but the exact conditions depend on your contract.
Conclusion: are ceramic implants the right choice for you?
In terms of compatibility and aesthetics, ceramic implants are unbeatable. Many experts passionately believe that ceramic is the material of the future and that titanium will completely replace it. Now, however, you still must accept a few restrictions, such as significantly higher implant costs and more complex treatment. Consider which care is a right for you.