The recent advancement of zirconia abutments has offered an esthetic choice for the restoration of dental implants. The number one concern offered with this type of abutment material is strength. A recent study published in the Christianson Report had some interesting conclusions. The first finding, while to most obvious, titanium abutments never break. The second finding and the point of this current note, zirconia abutments rarely break.
Let me break down the current data. A study of 190,000 abutments categorized by abutment type and location in the mouth, (Molar, Premolar, Canine, and Incisor), found titanium abutments had a 0.00% failure rate non-withstanding the restoration type. The Zirconia abutments failed at 0.7% in the molar position, 1.1% in the premolar position, 0.8% in the canine position, and 0.8% in the incisor position.
Titanium preformed the best with a 100% success rate, while the surprise winner in this study, zirconia, had a 99.0% success rate. This is great news. Great news for the patient with a high demand for an esthetic result, for the clinical dentist who loses sleep over the survival of unknown material in a patient’s mouth, and for the dental technician who wants to provide all-ceramic restorations to his clients.
Zirconia has become a standard for our laboratory. With the increase in demand of all-ceramic restorations like e.max, the zirconia implant abutment allows for this type of restoration with control over the grey that is inherent with a titanium abutment. (Titanium abutments shine through the gingiva or through the translucent all-ceramic crown). A zirconia abutment with an all-ceramic crown will light up tissue in a natural way providing the best esthetic result for the patient. If esthetics is of concern, the choice is simple, with a track record of 99.0% success rate; zirconia is the way to go.