Benefits & Drawbacks of Titanium Implants

by Dental-Pedia

Titanium is currently the most common material used for dental implants. Titanium implants have been used since the 1950s, so they have an incredibly long track record with a nearly perfect success rate. They’re incredibly strong and resistant to fractures. However, in recent years, there’s been growing concern about the small (but significant) risk of titanium sensitivity, inflammation, and allergies.

This article weighs the benefits and drawbacks of titanium dental implants to help you decide if you should get titanium or zirconia implants.

What are the Benefits of Titanium Implants

Benefits of titanium dental implants are durability, track record and biocompability

Track Record

Titanium has been the only suitable material for dental implants for decades, so it enjoys decades of success and a great track record. According to research, titanium implants have a success rate of 97% and a 10-year survival rate of 98.8%, which means the risk of titanium implant failure is negligible. However, it’s worth noting that recent studies have shown that zirconia implants also parallel that success.

Durability

One of the pros of titanium implants is that they are incredibly strong and durable, with little-to-no risk of breaking, cracking, or wearing down due to a high bite force or impact. As such, you don’t need to worry about damaging the dental implant if you have bruxism or engage in sports and physical activities. Due to their durability, titanium implants last for 30 years or more.

Biocompatibility

Titanium is a highly biocompatible material, i.e., your body easily accepts the implant as part of your body. This factor is essential for osseointegration, i.e., the fusion of the titanium implant with your jawbone. However, it’s worth noting that ceramic implants have even better biocompatibility with an even lower risk of implant rejection because they’re metal-free.

Pros and cons of titanium dental implants

What are the Drawbacks of Titanium Implants

Drawback from titanium dental implants: appearance, titanium toxicity

Appearance

Dental implants generally stay underneath the gums, so their appearance shouldn’t matter. However, implants occasionally rise to the surface if the patient experiences gum recession over time, making the implant visible. Since titanium is a metal, it doesn’t resemble your natural dental anatomy. As such, if you experience gum recession down the line, the metallic implant might be visible through the gum tissues.

Titanium Toxicity

Titanium implants carry a persistent risk of hypersensitivity or titanium toxicity. The corrosion and wear of titanium implants release titanium and titanium alloy particles and ions, leading to bone loss, inflammation, and implant failure. This is definitely one of the cons of titanium dental implants. Ceramic implants, in comparison, don’t carry similar risks of corrosion or implant failure.
There is a definite  risk of peri-implantitis in titanium dental implants.

Peri-Implantitis

Titanium implants also have a risk of peri-implantitis, i.e., bacteria enter the space between the implant and gums, leading to inflammation and bacterial infection. Titanium implants have a higher risk of bacterial infection compared to zirconia implants for two reasons. First, bacteria adhere to titanium with greater ease; second, natural gum tissues don’t adhere to titanium implants as well as natural bone.

Allergic Reactions

Some patients are allergic to metallic components, such as titanium. As such, you might develop symptoms of titanium allergies weeks, months, or even years after the surgery. Symptoms of titanium allergies include swelling, redness, irritation, and gradual implant failure. If you’re concerned about allergic reactions, zirconia implants might be a better option for you. You should talk to your dental surgeon about the ideal material for you.


Benefits of Titanium ImplantsDrawbacks of Titanium Implants
Decades of clinical experience, research, and track record available.The metallic implant might become visible if you experience gum recession.
Highly durable — can last a lifetime.Risk of hypersensitivity and titanium toxicity.
High biocompatibility, facilitating optimal osseointegration.Risk of peri-implantitis because of bacterial infection.

Risk of allergic reactions.

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