Patient presented with tooth # 12 extracted a few weeks prior. She was given a removable partial denture that she never used and wanted a fixed metal free tooth replacement. After 3D diagnostics and planning and ten weeks after extraction, surgery was performed and a zirconia monoblock implant was placed engaging primarily the palatal root in the apical third. Deficient buccal area was bone grafted, an immediate temporary crown was placed and the implant allowed to integrate for four months.
Dental implants are nothing new. The oldest discovered dental implant was a copper stud found in the jaw of an Egyptian from somewhere around 1000 BC. Obviously technology has come a long way since then and the surgical placement methods have definitely improved since that first implant, the idea of replacing a tooth is nothing new. Nor is the idea of biocompatible dental implants. While we may view zirconium oxide implants as a new breakthrough in dental technology, researchers have discovered attempts at bicomcompatible replacement teeth from as early as 600 AD, when a Mayan woman was found to have “three tooth-shaped pieces of shell placed into the sockets of three missing lower incisor teeth” (Wikipedia, 2010).
The fact is, we need our teeth. For ages we have attempted to find better methods and improved materials to replace missing teeth. From the earliest attempts to removable dentures, to bridges, to our modern titanium implants. By most calcualtions, titanium implants have been the best option to replace teeth discovered so far.
Dentures were at one time the best way, as were bridges, etc. So while titanium implants were a huge step forward in what we were able to offer patients, it doesn’t mean that it is where the search stops. In fact, there is already a more viable solution available on the market: zirconium oxide implants (or ceramic implants).
Ceramic dental implants improve upon the few weaknesses found in titanium implants and provide a viable, improved option for both the patient and the doctor.