Demanding development of ceramic dental implants -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine


Nowak Engineering GmbH

Demanding development of ceramic dental implants

Until recently, titanium was the only clinically accepted implant-material. Titanium implants have been proven themselves over many decades. More and more patients, especially allergy sufferers, today want a metal-free restoration. Add to that the trend towards perfect, white teeth. In this regard, ceramic implants represent a valuable alternative to titanium implants.
Implants made of zirconium oxide
Zirconia implants are characterized by a comparatively higher biocompatibility and optimized aesthetics. In addition, zirconium oxide is particularly resistant to the setting of dental plaque and the good compatibility makes zirconium a suitable alternative for allergy sufferers. The white shade is especially beneficial to patients suffering from gum disease. Even if the implant body is partially exposed, this is not immediately visible. The bluish shining of thin mucous membranes that is often observed with titanium implants is avoided. One disadvantage are certainly the higher costs. These are based mainly on a more complex and expensive manufacturing process.

Elaborate development of a zirconia implant system
The material zirconium oxide was already used in the 1980s for the manufacturing of implants. Since at that time too little consideration was given to the special properties of the material, many fractures occurred, and the material was quickly frowned upon by the dentists. Since ceramic allows only a very small plastic deformation (ductility), geometric dimensioning and a perfect manufacturing process are essential. The initial failures no longer occur today in mature systems. In the meantime, one-piece systems achieve very good strength values. Multi-part systems, today the gold standard among titanium implants, are even more demanding in development due to the small wall thicknesses. In order to achieve optimum strength, numerous and complex calculations (finite element analysis) are necessary for the design of the geometry. In addition, the manufacturability of the parts presents a further challenge. In addition to the static tests, an implant system must also fulfill dynamic properties in order to pass the high requirements of a certification. Equally important are the clinical conditions, such as rapid healing (osseointegration), the lowest possible failure rate and the ease of use of the system. A dental implant is a highly complex system, which places a high demand on experience and knowledge on the developers. Good interaction between physicians, materials scientists and engineers is essential.

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