If you’ve lost a permanent tooth, chances are your dentist recommended a dental implant. For more than thirty years, however, the only option for tooth replacement in the United States, and other countries, has been toxic titanium and titanium alloy dental implants. Fortunately, zirconium, one of the strongest and natural occurring materials available, is now a viable alternative to conventional dental implants.
A dental implant, at bottom, is an artificial root that holds a fake tooth in place. Most dental implants are made from dental-grade titanium. The problem with titanium implants, however, is that with age, they are known to release metal ions. Not only does this lower levels of electrical current throughout the body; it weakens the dental implant itself.
Titanium implants are also responsible for galvanic toxicity, which occurs when two or more metals exist in the mouth in a bad way, like amalgam from a previous filling interacting with titanium in a metal dental implant.
This can overstimulate the brain and produce ill side effects, including the taste of metal in the mouth, insomnia or feeling an electrical charge whenever a metal comes into contact with the mouth. This is otherwise known as “battery mouth.”
Anyone interested in an alternative to titanium dental implants would be well advised to consider zirconia dental implants. As noted earlier, zirconium is one of the strongest and natural materials available. They have the same strength and longevity as titanium implants without the dangerous side effects. In addition, zirconia dental implants are both FDA approved and have a 98 percent survival rate.
Zirconia is a crystal version of zirconium, which is a transitional metal. Once zirconium silicate is mined and processed, zirconium is isolated and processed even more under high temperatures and pressures. It then undergoes an oxidation and crystallization process, which hardens the material.
Zirconium dioxide does not qualify as a metal nor disrupt the body’s electrical current. Furthermore, unlike titanium implants, zirconia implants do not carry the risks of corrosion. Multiple studies and clinical observations have attested that zirconia implants accumulate significantly less plaque than titanium implants.
There are more benefits to zirconia implants than simply avoiding the dangers of titanium implants, however. Since zirconia implants significantly reduce the amount of plaque buildup, they also significantly reduce the risk of gum disease. Furthermore, titanium implants can produce a dark line around the gum, whereas zirconia implants produce a natural tone that blends in naturally with the gum line.
Despite the many benefits to be reaped from zirconia implants, there exists a common misconception about their radioactive output. Based upon where it is mined, Zirconium Silicate (ZrSO4) can be littered by natural radioactive isotopes like radium (226Ra) and thorium (228Th).
This was a major problem in the 1990s because the ores used had been contaminated. Fortunately, the technology used to process zirconium dioxide today is able to remove these contaminates. According to a 2013 article written by Dr. Noumbissi and published in the Orofacial Chronicle Journal from Bhopal, India:
Zirconia hip ball replacements weigh approximately 100mg and have a natural radiological output of 1mSv per year. The average weight of a zirconia dental implant is 1g, translating into a natural radiological output of roughly 0.01mSv/year. Therefore the radiation risk of zirconia bioceramics is negligible and given that the World Nuclear Association states that the typical background radiation experienced by most people in North America is 3.4mSv, there is little concern for adverse biological effects on the implant recipient.
Zirconia dental implants are a safe, healthy and smart alternative to conventional dental implants. If you are getting a dental implant, consult your holistic dentist today about zirconia implants, and their many benefits.