This is because not all dental implants are the same. Some will use different materials in their construction, and the most popular two are titanium and zirconia. Titanium has been used safely for yours, and is used in many other medical ways for treatments. The main downside of titanium is that it is a metal, and so can introduce traces of that metal into your bloodstream and your body over time.
Zirconia is an alternative that is proving very popular because it is much more biocompatible; that means that it is not going to affect your body as titanium would. That does not mean that zirconia is perfect, of course –as it is a relatively new treatment option, there are fewer companies making the implants, and they are much larger than titanium implants and so are more intrusive to put into the mouth through surgery. They will also require reshaping which can cause microfractures within the dental implant itself. That is why we do not offer zirconia dental implants at this time, though when they can be created smaller and therefore easier to implant, we will probably make the change over.
It was once believed that larger implants would be better for patients because people assumed that they would last longer, and be more reliable. However, current academic research is actually showing that the opposite is true, which is why dental implants vary in size.
Another option that you will need to consider is how the different components are going to fit together in your mouth. For some patients, the crown is cemented directly onto the implant, and in other patients it is screwed into the bone. For some, the crown just clicks on which is known as a cold weld.
For my patients, when a dental implant is the right decision for them, we often go with a very small and hence less invasive implant made from titanium, with a biocompatible ceramic layer over the top to prevent any contamination. This implant will be slowly allowed to integrate into the bone, and then and only then will the crown be placed upon it. This gives us a 95% success rate of good integration.
Other dentists will undoubtedly offer you a much larger implant, but research has demonstrated that the smaller ones are actually the most reliable and the ones that will last longer – and are much less invasive to place into the mouth. Sinus lifts and bone grafts are not necessary for this smaller surgery, giving you much less discomfort and pain in the process of receiving your dental implants.
To find out if dental implants are the best solution for you, call (619) 359-6569 for a free consultation with Dr. Woods.