When the time comes to choose a dental implant material, there are many things to consider. Aesthetically, you want an implant that matches your natural teeth, without grey showing through or any other discoloration. In terms of durability, you do not want to have an implant replaced every other year. Any implant you get should also be affordable. While zirconia implants may be a little more expensive than some other choices, they more than make up for it in terms of appearance and longevity.

What are zirconia implants?

Zirconia dental implants are a type of implant that is strong, natural-looking, and built to last. They are made of zirconium oxide, a durable material that is highly compatible with the body. For some patients who cannot tolerate metal, zirconia implants may be their best option.

Zirconia implants can be either solid or layered.

Solid zirconia implants (also called monolithic zirconia) are best used on molars. Their appearance is more opaque. Less light reflecting through and off the solid zirconia makes them look a bit less natural. The strength of solid zirconia dental implants, however, is good for hard chewing surfaces and makes up for their slightly artificial appearance. Patients who grind their teeth are also good candidates for this type of zirconia crown.

Layered zirconia implants are the most natural-looking option. These are easy to match to adjacent teeth and still offer superior strength and durability. Light reflects through these implants, making them resemble their neighboring teeth. Because they are applied in thin layers, these zirconia implants need more clearance (more space to work) and are generally used for teeth in the front of the mouth.

Zirconia is just one of several implant materials patients can choose from. Other types of implants are:

  • Porcelain
  • Ceramic
  • Metal
  • A combination of materials

What are the different types of zirconia implants?

There are two main types of dental implants: endosteal implants and subperiosteal implants.

Endosteal implants

Your dentist will surgically insert this type of implant directly into the jawbone. Once this heals, a second surgery attaches a post to the implant.

They’ll then attach the replacement zirconia tooth or teeth to this post.

Subperiosteal implants

Consisting of a frame fitted on the jawbone below the gum tissue, this type of implant becomes fixed to the jawbone as it heals. Posts attached to this frame stick out from the gum, and the tooth, bridge, or denture is snapped into place.

Dentists can use zirconia implants to replace single teeth or a group of teeth. Unlike other implant materials, zirconia dental implants can be made as one piece for those patients who cannot tolerate any metal. Zirconia dental implants are also available in two separate pieces, with a standard metal implant and post and a tooth or teeth made from zirconium.

Do I need zirconia implants?

Common uses for zirconia dental implants include:

  • Implant supported dentures: These can be supported with more than one implant that runs the course of the denture, or simply by implants on either end.
  • Dental bridge: While bridges can be supported on either end with a crown, some patients will opt for implant-supported bridges.
  • Single tooth replacement: Zirconia implants are a great option to replace a single missing tooth. Their natural appearance is custom-made to blend in with the surrounding teeth, and the implant stimulates and protects bone growth in your jaw.

How long do zirconia implants last?

Zirconia implants are strong and durable.

With proper car