When you’re restoring a full, complete set of missing teeth, you may not give a lot of thought to the density or weight of the materials that your dentist is using. But the weight of your appliance—whether it’s dentures or dental implants—can factor into your everyday comfort, eating, and speaking abilities.
Durable Zirconia vs. Other Dental Implant Materials
Zirconia is an extremely strong, durable, and biocompatible material that we prefer to use in dental implant cases whenever possible. But you might see some other dental providers talking about things like nanoceramics, which tend to be even lighter than zirconia dental implants. The theory behind the nanoceramics is that they are practically invincible, to the point you can drop them off of buildings or run over them with cars.
In reality, the difference between zirconia and nanoceramics is only a few ounces. For example, if you had dental fillings in every tooth, there would still be a weight difference, but you really wouldn’t notice it. The same can be said for nanoceramics vs. zirconia.
The overall shape of zirconia dental implants tends to be much more streamlined than something like a nanoceramic overdenture or hybrid arch. That means when you’re eating, you still have the full strength of a complete set of teeth, even though the entire arch is replaced with an implant prosthesis.
Is Zirconia Durable Enough to Eat With?
Yes, biting pressure is some of the strongest muscular forces you have in your body, but it’s still no match for zirconia implant restorations. Zirconia also offers what we call a “flexural strength,” which is how much biting pressure you can apply to your implants before they have the potential to break. Zirconia offers the best flexural strength of any other restorative material, including things like nanoceramics and acrylic (which you frequently see used in dentures or partials.)
As an implant patient, you’ll notice a huge improvement if you’re upgrading from something like acrylic dentures to an All-on-4 appliance, for example. Dentures don’t offer nearly as much flexibility when it comes to biting pressure and chewing forces, so naturally, you’re more likely to eat softer, processed foods or need to cut your meals up into smaller bites.
On the flip side, zirconia dental implant restorations are almost exactly like having anatomical teeth to eat with. That means you can bite directly into a steak, corn on the cob, or even chew a piece of sugar-free gum if you want to. The flexural strength is so durable that you won’t have to think twice about your meal selection. In fact, a fully integrated dental implant is physically stronger than any other tooth in your mouth, which is why we can pair fewer implants together to replace multiple teeth at one time.
Yes, there are other materials out there that can also provide full chewing abilities. But the reliability and aesthetic enhancements you gain with a material like zirconia make them the prime choice for full smile restoration.
Aesthetics of Lightweight Zirconia Materials
For years, dental experts have worked in labs to create materials that are both durable enough for restoring teeth and attractive enough to look like the real thing. Today, dentists are able to use everything from acrylic and plastics to porcelains and 3D-printed teeth (well, crowns, at least.)
If you ever look at your teeth extremely close up, you’ll notice that your tooth enamel has a small amount of transparency to it. This creates fluctuations in the color of the tooth, starting at the edge of the gum tissues down to the biting edges of the tooth. With certain ceramic materials, you get more of a solid opaque color across the entire crown. This can cause the tooth or implant restoration to stand out from other teeth or look unnatural in some circumstances. Whereas with zirconia, you gain some of that translucency back, making the end results look as natural as possible.
Plus, you get to select the color and hue of your new smile. Essentially, you’re getting a complete smile makeover any time you invest in full-arch rehabilitation with All-on-4 or a fixed bridge system.
At ARCHPOINT, we believe that zirconia materials allow us to provide the most reliable results in the most functional and attractive manner possible. During your initial dental implant consultation, we’ll sit together one-on-one to discuss what your concerns are, answer every question you have about the process, and discuss which options are available to meet your goals. If you have pictures or examples of smiles that you like, feel free to share them with us!
To make things even better, we offer flexible financing that fits your budget. Payment plans can even complement any existing dental insurance or HSA/FSA funds you have, minimizing your overall investment. Every treatment plan is detailed and broken down, making it easy for you to understand with or without any insurance coverage.
As we plan your smile rejuvenation, every detail is carefully planned out. Including the shape and contour of each tooth, the exact color of materials used, and the way the teeth align with your facial profile. So, at the same time, you’re essentially getting restored fullness in your jawline, cheeks, and lips.
Which Dental Implants are Right for Me?
Some dental offices only offer one or two types of dental implant treatments because that’s what they’re trained in or limited to providing. But implant therapy isn’t a cookie-cutter treatment where one procedure fits every smile. At ARCHPOINT, our DFW specialists are experts when it comes to implant therapy and smile reconstruction. Since we specialize in dental implants, we have numerous pieces of technology and resources that you won’t find in everyday general practice. That means we can better curate a unique care plan for your smile, regardless of what it’s been through!
Just because you have missing teeth doesn’t mean you won’t be able to smile again. Call the implant specialists at ARCHPOINT to learn more about zirconia lightweight dental implants, All-on-4 treatments, and more!