Current research: titanium implant abutments stronger zirconia abutments

Dec. 14, 2010
Dr. Gordon Christensen offers his insight on when to use titanium implant abutments and zirconia abutments, based on the latest research.

By Gordon J. Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD

In this in vitro study, the fracture strength and accelerated fatigue reliability of metal and zirconia abutment systems were tested. Implants were restored with metal crowns, and loads were applied. “Strength and reliability were significantly higher for the titanium abutments compared to the zirconia abutments.”

Dr. Gordon Christensen comments: The results of this study are no surprise. When would you want to use a zirconia abutment in spite of its lower strength? When the implant is significantly below the gingival tissues and the potential abutment would extend to the implant with a collar of metal from the implant to the apical margin of the restoration, there is a high likelihood of the gray color of the abutment metal showing through the gingival tissues. Also, if an all-ceramic crown is planned for an implant abutment, zirconia abutments provide a better esthetic result than metal abutments. In these two example situations zirconia abutments are indicated. Otherwise, why go to the expense and uncertainty of a zirconia abutment?

July/August 2010 Guide for Preferred Clients
Vol. 15, Issue 4

Mitsias ME, Silva N, Pines M, et al. Reliability and fatigue damage modes of zirconia and titanium abutments. Int J Prosthodont 2010; 23(1):56-59.

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Click here to read more clinical tips and current research from Dr. Gordon Christensen.

Author bio
Dr. Christensen is a practicing prosthodontist in Provo, Utah, and a Diplomate for the American Board of Prosthodontics. He is the founder and director of Practical Clinical Courses, an international continuing education organization initiated in 1981 for dental professionals. Dr. Christensen is a cofounder (with his wife, Rella) and senior consultant of CLINICIANS REPORT (formerly Clinical Research Associates), which has conducted research in all areas of dentistry since 1976. Dr. Christensen is an adjunct professor for Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.