In the video above, Dr. Richards gives a brief comparison of zirconia and acrylic prosthetics. In the New Teeth Now process you go home on surgery day with temporary acrylic teeth, which gives time for your new implants to integrate and for swelling to go down. Once the healing phase is complete, the final set of zirconia teeth is fixed in place. Unlike dentures your bridges do not rest on the gums but are fully supported on the implants, reducing irritation and stimulating the jawbone in a way that is more similar to a natural tooth root.
Because of their unique roles in the New Teeth now process as described above, it’s important to know the difference between zirconia and acrylic, and to consider why the different materials are used at different times during the process.
On the Mohs Hardness Scale, acrylic tests at a 3, a natural tooth test at a 5 and zirconia tests at 8 to 8.5. As a gentler and softer material, the acrylic arches are ideal for placing less pressure on implants during the healing period to give a much better opportunity for osseointegration, or the time period when the implant fuses with the jawbone. This quality also means that the acrylics are not suited for long-term use. Acrylic teeth would need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years.
For this reason, in preparing the final teeth for your new smile, New Teeth Now takes advantage of the strength and appearance of zirconia. Zirconia is the most durable material available in dental prosthetics, and teeth made of zirconia are designed to last a lifetime.
Eight Frequently Asked Questions about Implant-Supported Zirconia Teeth
1. Because zirconia has a Mohs hardness rating of about 8 and a natural tooth has a hardness of only 5, will having zirconia arches damage any remaining natural teeth?
The incredible durability of zirconia is what makes it an effective long-term solution for dental prosthetics and is also one reason it is the material used for the final set of teeth in the New Teeth Now process.
The majority of New Teeth Now patients are looking for full implant-supported restorations to replace all of their teeth. For patients looking to replace only uppers or lowers with an arch of new teeth, their surgeon will evaluate the overall health of their remaining natural teeth to recommend a treatment plan.
If you grind your teeth at night, for example, and only have zirconia either on the upper or lower with the remaining teeth being natural; then, yes, the zirconia material could wear down remaining natural teeth. For this reason, it’s not always possible to place a prosthesis on only the upper or lower jaw.
Many patients qualify for New Teeth Now once they need most of their teeth replaced, or when they have a plan to replace the remaining row of teeth in the near future. At the consultation, the surgeon can provide more detailed information about the best option for you.
If you’re in a position where more than half of your teeth need to be replaced, New Teeth Now is something you should consider.
2. Is zirconia toxic?
The zirconia that makes up the bulk of the hybrid is absolutely safe and nontoxic. The porcelain that coats the prosthetic is also nontoxic.
3. Will zirconia teeth change the way my food tastes?
Zirconia is odorless and does not have a flavor. Because there is no palate covering the roof of the mouth, like what’s connected to the top of a traditional denture, an implant-supported bridge is much more likely to enhance the flavor of food by helping you chew and freeing up the mouth from harmful and odorous bacteria that feed on an unhealthy natural tooth.
Having a palate-covering denture, like the one seen in the image above, limits the sense of taste. Zirconia hybrids are sleek and only cover the gum ridge.
This frees up your palate and allows you to enjoy your favorite foods just as they’re intended, making eating a full-mouth experience again.
4. Why can’t I get zirconia teeth the same day as surgery?
It is a physiological reality that the jawbone needs time after surgery to allow new implants to integrate. Allowing a healing period in the process significantly increases the success rate of full mouth restorations and creates a time period in which the patient can test drive their acrylic prototypes for comfort and functionality before the final zirconia teeth are crafted.
While you may find an implant center marketing express and fast implant solutions that offers zirconia teeth on the same day, please be aware that rushing this sensitive process is a solution that benefits the clinic’s bottom-line in order to get more patients through in and out of the door as quickly as possible.
The New Teeth Now process includes acrylic teeth on the same day as surgery, because after helping thousands of patients restore their smiles, our oral surgeons have found the healing period to be an effective approach in evaluating patients’ new teeth for quality and long-term success. At New Teeth Now, our patients’ health and comfort are our priority.
5. Does zirconia feel heavy?
Once fixed to fully healed implants, zirconia teeth do not feel heavy. Biting down or opening and closing your mouth might feel a little weird at first, but it will start to feel normal over time. In fact, we hear from patients that it feels much more unusual when their teeth are taken out for cleanings and maintenance.
This is a good question because zirconia is much heavier than acrylic, which is roughly a fifth of the weight of zirconia. Acrylic’s lighter weight is another reason it is more suitable for healing. Having too much weight pulling at the implants before they are fully integrated is an unnecessary risk.
6. Zirconia is a more expensive material than acrylic. Can the gums of my new teeth be made with acrylics, and the individual teeth be made with zirconia to save money?
We get this question frequently, and it speaks to a misunderstanding about how dental prosthetics should be made. New Teeth Now prosthetics are not made in parts and portions.
Our restorative lab creates a remarkably realistic-looking set of final teeth, including both teeth and gums, all from zirconia. This means that the teeth and gums are one solid, strong unit. The gums and individual teeth are not milled separately and then fastened together. Our design process assures that your final smile will be more durable and long-lasting.
7. Does New Teeth Now make removable partials or dentures with zirconia?
Our restorative team works with our patients to create long-term, non-removable teeth that are placed to look and feel as much like natural teeth as possible. We do not create zirconia partials, and we do not make dentures.
8. Is zirconia appropriate for crowns on a single implant?
For a single implant surgery, which more often requires bone grafting, the restorative process is referred to your general dentist who chooses the appropriate material for the crown. The restorative doctors and in-house lab at New Teeth Now specialize in full-mouth, implant-supported restorations where we help design full-mouth arches that are made of zirconia.
In short, New Teeth Now is not a procedure for placing single dental implants.