Patients have several options for materials when they look to get dental implants, and the material of your new teeth usually have an enormous impact on the price. Most dental implants will use titanium screws to anchor into your jaw, but the teeth on top can be made of a variety of choices. Unless you’ve had personal experience with dental implants, it can be hard to know the real differences between materials that may be used for dental implants.
Below, we’ll take a look at common materials used in dental implants, their differences, and why our offices are committed to using zirconia in all of our dental implant prosthetics.
Zirconia all on four is an all-on-4 dental implant bridge connected on top of titanium implants that uses zirconia for the prosthetics of your new teeth. Zirconia is an extremely durable, esthetic white material that patients are unlikely to damage. Since dental implants, like all-on-4 implants, are meant to be permanent and lifelong, using an exceptionally durable material like zirconia helps guard against all-on-4 damage and failure.
The “bridge” for all-on-4 dental implants is another term for the prosthesis that replaces an entire row of teeth. So, a zirconia bridge is simply an all-on-4 procedure that uses zirconia in the prosthetic teeth that connects on top of the titanium implants in the jawbone.
While the All-on-4 procedure is performed in one day (hence the name “same-day”), you will likely leave the office temporary teeth, which are typically made from acrylic. After your mouth has a chance to heal after the surgery, you will receive your custom-made permanent zirconia all-on-4 bridge.
Zirconia can be used in a wide variety of dental implant procedures (e.g., single implant, multiple implant), not just all-on-4. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons a patient would choose zirconia as their choice of material, as well as some reasons why they wouldn’t.
As we said, zirconia is strong. It does an excellent job resisting damage and cracking, even in patients who tend to clench their jaw or struggle with grinding their teeth at night. Our office uses zirconia exclusively for dental implants because of how durable and reliable the material is. Zirconia can have more than 5x the strength of other materials, including traditional porcelain.
Zirconia also does a fantastic job resisting staining. One of the benefits of dental implants is that they look like natural teeth. Zirconia stays looking natural and healthy as long as you keep up with normal oral hygiene and dental cleanings. Other, cheaper materials (such as acrylic and porcelain) stain very easily and can make it noticeable that your prosthetic teeth are not your original, natural teeth.
Whether you plan on getting a single dental implant, several, or a whole bridge replacement, zirconia is generally considered to be the best material choice for dental implants prosthetic.
There are very few drawbacks to zirconia. Since zirconia is far more durable than your natural teeth, there used to be concerns that your zirconia bridge would wear down the natural teeth that it opposed. As long as your oral surgeon designs your teeth appropriately, and you attend normal checkups, the risk of this kind of damage can be avoided.
The other potential drawback to zirconia is the cost. Given that zirconia is the best material for dental implant prosthetics, it is often billed as the most expensive option. It can be difficult to know exactly how much an office is going to charge to use zirconia, since their advertised price often does not include zirconia. That said, while the upfront cost of zirconia might seem high, their durability makes them the more affordable option in the long run since you don’t have to worry about replacing damaged or stained teeth.
Our office includes zirconia in our advertised, all-inclusive price of $14,950 per All-on-4 arch. It’s important that our patients have easy access to the best material for dental implants. Zirconia is very unlikely to ever be damaged, it is make for great fitting fake teeth, and zirconia resists staining, so you’ll have a bright, natural-looking smile for years!
Porcelain and ceramic are two common and inferior alternatives to zirconia. Let’s take a closer look at how each of these materials compares to zirconia:
Porcelain will provide a brilliant, white color to your teeth, and they’ll also generally be less expensive than zirconia. However, porcelain is far less durable than zirconia and will chip and crack easily. If you struggle with clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth, porcelain will not last without chipping or cracking.
Ceramic prosthetics are usually made of translucent porcelain, though ceramic tends to be stronger and more durable than porcelain is. Ceramic will also look more natural, though it still won’t look quite as natural as zirconia.
Acrylic usually is not an option for dental implants (outside of temporary teeth), though it is a common choice in dentures. Acrylic is very inexpensive, which is why many patients consider it as a material choice, but there are significant drawbacks. Acrylic is a soft material, so it is prone to damage and wear.
Zirconia is by far the best material for all-on-4 dental implants. It’s extremely durable, it’s perfect for making fake teeth that look indiscernible from real teeth, and a skilled oral surgeon can custom-made a set of zirconia teeth that perfectly fits your mouth. Materials like ceramic or porcelain simply don’t offer the same quality of benefits that zirconia does.
Yes. Acrylic is a common material in dentures, including traditional dentures and snap-on dentures. Zirconia is a much better material than acrylic for several reasons. Acrylic is very soft and will crack and break overtime. It’s also a porous material, which means it’s easy for bacteria to hide within the dentures and grow, creating foul odors.
Acrylic is usually used for dentures because dentures are not meant to be permanent. However, since dental implants are meant to be a permanent solution, acrylic is not an appropriate choice. Zirconia is considered to be the best choice for dental implants, which is why our office uses it exclusively and includes it in our upfront, all-inclusive pricing.
Even if you decide to go with a non-zirconia material for your dental implants, you should almost never choose acrylic.