Until recently, the market only offered implants that were made of titanium. Once this metal had been implanted into your jaw bone, it may have caused fields of disruption. Fortunately, the advancements in the utilization of new materials for dental ends have made zirconia oxide, a metal-free substance, available to modern dentistry.
Some years ago, implantology was a highly acclaimed new dental technique. But the new material will again revolutionize dental care and point its way towards the future:
Zirconium is a very poor chemical and electric conductor and does therefore easily withstand changes in temperature.
As it happened, scientists discovered the beneficial neutrality of the substance by chance. While pure titanium potentially effectuated negative biochemical disturbances, zirconia oxide does not indicate any of these repercussions recorded. Implants of titanium are characterized by some degree of translucency, making the metallic-grey substance gleaming through the implant close to the gingival rim. Zirconium-based implants are an almost ideal option for patients suffering from metal sensitivities.
Metal free implants now meet the requirements of patients with the highest aesthetic demands. Zirconia implants even avoid dark gleaming in cases of a thin mucosa like known from titanium implants and address issues of allergic concerns.
Zirconia implants became available in July 2009 in the US, it is worth considering having them done in South Africa where you can combine the procedure with and unforgettable holiday. We offer metal free implants at the highest standard, at very favourable rates.
A dental implant is one option for replacing missing or badly diseased teeth. It is composed of an artificial root that looks like a post or screw and is covered with a dental crown.
Treatment involves the surgical placement of the implant into the jawbone, where it is allowed to fuse to the bone in a process called “osseointegration.”
Once healed, the implant acts as an anchor for an artificial replacement tooth, or crown. The crown is made to blend in with your other teeth and is permanently attached to the implant.
A typical dental implant is made of pure titanium and/or a titanium alloy.
In fact, titanium alloys are widely used in both medicine and dentistry, for dental implants, pacemakers, stents, orthodontic brackets, and orthopedic implants (e.g., hip, shoulder, knee, or elbow). Not only is titanium strong, but many consider it biocompatible: it forms an oxide layer when exposed to air, and this purportedly results in reduced corrosion and superior osseointegration.
Titanium (Ti) is NOT biologically inert
Ti implants release metal ions into your mouth 24 hours a day, and this chronic exposure may trigger inflammation, allergies, and autoimmune disease in susceptible individuals. They are a precursor to disease.
Cases of intolerance to metal implants have been reported over the years, and the removal of this incompatible dental material has resulted in reduced metal sensitivity and long-term health improvement in the majority of patients.
Ti has the potential to induce hypersensitivity as well as other immunological dysfunctions.
One study investigated 56 patients who developed severe health problems after receiving titanium-based dental implants. These medical problems included muscle, joint, and nerve pain; chronic fatigue syndrome; neurological problems; depression; and skin inflammation.
Removal of the implants resulted in a dramatic improvement in the patients’ symptoms, as well as a decrease in many patients’ sensitivity to titanium.
For example, a 54-year-old man with a titanium dental implant and four titanium screws in his vertebra was so sick that he could not work. He suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, cognitive impairment, Parkinson-like trembling, and severe depression. Six months after the removal of the implants and screws, he was able to return to work.
In another case, a 14-year-old girl developed inflammatory lesions on her face six months after being fitted with titanium orthodontic brackets.
She was also mentally and physically exhausted, and her reactivity to titanium skyrocketed. Within nine months of replacing the brackets with a metal-free material, her facial lesions had almost completely healed, she was healthy and active, and her sensitivity to titanium returned to a normal level.
Ti implants can cause cancer.
Another complication of the use of implanted titanium is its potential to induce the abnormal proliferation of cells (neoplasia), which can lead to the development of malignant tumors and cancer. Though rare, it is a well-known complication of orthopedic surgery that involves the implantation of metallic hardware.
Furthermore, researchers recently uncovered the first reported case of a sarcoma arising in association with a dental implant.
As described in the August 2008 issue of JADA (The Journal of the American Dental Association), a 38-year-old woman developed bone cancer eleven months after receiving a titanium dental implant. Luckily, she was successfully treated with chemotherapy, but the authors recommended further research into the tumor-causing potential of dental implants in light of their increasing popularity and their ability to last for longer periods of time.
Why you want to avoid any metal in your mouth
Finally, the presence of any metal in your mouth sets the stage for “galvanic toxicity,” because your mouth essentially becomes a charged battery when dissimilar metals sit in a bed of saliva.
All that is needed to make a battery is two or more different metals and a liquid medium that can conduct electricity (i.e., an electrolyte). Metal implants, fillings, crowns, partials, and orthodontics provide the dissimilar metals, and the saliva in your mouth serves as the electrolyte.
An electric current called a galvanic current is then generated by the transport of the metal ions from the metal-based dental restorations into the saliva. This phenomenon is called “oral galvanism,” and it literally means that your mouth is acting like a small car battery or a miniature electrical generator. The currents can actually be measured using an ammeter!
Oral galvanism creates two major concerns.
First, the electric currents increase the rate of corrosion (or dissolution) of metal-based dental restorations. Even precious metal alloys continuously release metal ions into your mouth due to corrosion, a process that gnaws away bits of metal from the metal’s surface.
These ions react with other components of your body, leading to sensitivity, inflammation, and, ultimately, autoimmune disease. Increasing the corrosion rate, therefore, increases the chance of developing immunologic or toxic reactions to the metals.
Second, some individuals are very susceptible to these internal electrical currents. Dissimilar metals in your mouth can cause unexplained pain, nerve shocks, ulcerations, and inflammation, and many people also experience a constant metallic or salty taste, or a burning sensation in their mouth.
Moreover, there is the concern that oral galvanism directs electrical currents into brain tissue and can disrupt the natural electrical current in your brain.
New Alternatives to Ti implants
In recent years, high-strength ceramic implants have become attractive alternatives to titanium implants, and some current research has focused on the viability of materials such as zirconia (the dioxide of zirconium, a metal close to titanium on the periodic table).
Metal-free zirconia implants have been used in Europe and South America for years.
Zirconia implants are highly bio-compatible to the human body and exhibit minimum ion release compared to metallic implants.
Studies have shown that the osseo-integration of zirconia and titanium implants are very similar, and that zirconia implants have a comparable survival rate, thereby making them an excellent alternative to metal implants.
Moreover, zirconia ceramics have been successfully used in orthopedic surgery to manufacture ball heads for total hip replacements.
Therefore, given that titanium dental implants can induce metal sensitivity, inflammation, autoimmunity, and malignant tumors, while zirconia implants are metal-free but just as durable, why invite chronic metal exposure?
Your body would surely benefit from choosing the biocompatible, ceramic dental implant over the standard, titanium metal implant.
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