Zirconium bridges have become one of the most popular alternatives to standard fixed dental prostheses over the last couple of years. Just like other bridges, a zirconium bridge is used to replace a lost tooth by joining an artificial replacement to adjacent teeth or to an implant that has been placed in the jaw bone. Using Ante’s rule, which states that the roots of an abutment (the connecting element that bridges the implant to the replacement tooth,) must have a three-dimensional surface area that is greater than that of the missing root structure the bridge serves to replace, ensures that zirconium bridges have the strength and the durability necessary to last dental patients a lifetime.
Designed for Safety, Strength
In effect, the design elements that make zirconium bridges effective have few differences from traditional bridging tools; however, what makes the zirconium option so popular is that cosmetic dentists synthesized this prosthetic for patients who would otherwise have severe allergic reactions to titanium, one of the most common materials used to build fixed dental prostheses.
Zirconium bridges instead use zirconium oxide, an extremely durable form of dental ceramic that is both strong and highly compatible with the human body. With a flexural strength of 1200 MPa, zirconium oxide is many times stronger than other popular dental cements. In short, the chances of damaging these bridges is quite low.
While the strength and the lifelike appearance of zirconium bridges used in tooth replacement procedures undoubtedly contribute to the rising popularity of this unique dental tool, it must be said that the health benefits of taking advantage of something made from zirconium are the real reason so many elect to go with this option. While titanium allergies are rare, affecting only an estimated 1% of dental patients, the fact that an allergic response can be so serious leads to many taking an attitude of “better safe than sorry.”
Most titanium allergies will result in a mild rash, itching, and discomfort. A significant number of people will experience anaphylaxis. As Mayo Clinic details, anaphylaxis causes plummeting blood pressure and airway constriction. In this worst case scenario, the outcome is death. Needless to say, even the small chance that this could occur is justification enough to choose the zirconium option over titanium.