Paradigm Shift

from titanium to zirconium dioxide

Titanium dioxide implants, originally from the field of orthopaedics, have proven themselves in dentistry for many decades and have been sufficiently researched and documented. Nevertheless, the proportion of patients who react to the metal is increasing, as is the proportion of patients with peri-implant inflammation affecting soft or hard tissue.

Prof. Dr. Wainwright has 25 years of experience as an internationally recognized implantologist and one of the few in Europe who have experience with 18 titanium implant systems. Due to patients’ increasing requirements as well as the intensive study of numerous scientific publications in relevant scientific journals, Wainwright decided years ago to exclusively use zirconium oxide implants for the therapy of his patients. He now looks back at 10 years of experience with zirconium oxide implants. In the practices where Wainwright works, his profound knowledge as a specialist for ceramic implants is in great demand with patients from all over the world seeking him out as an implantologist for ceramic implants.

Few people know that in the field of ceramic implants, too, data has been available for more than 10 years and that meanwhile all major companies in the field of implant manufacturers rely on zirconium dioxide and react to the growing demand from patients and practitioners alike.

Short summary

Zirconium (Zr) is a chemical element with the atomic number 40 and belongs to the group of transition metals, just like titanium dioxide, and belongs to the 5th period in the so-called titanium group. It is a corrosion-resistant heavy metal found in the earth’s crust.

Zircon (Zr(SiO4) is a colorless and clear mineral from the class of silicates, occurs as a rare mineral in rock layers and is considered the oldest naturally occurring gemstone.

Zirconia or zirconium dioxide, colloquially known as zirconium oxide (ZrO2) is the oxide of zirconium produced synthetically in the laboratory. Zirconia is a popular diamond imitation and has been used in medicine as an implant material for years. The oxidized form of zirconium loses all its metallic properties (galvanism, corrosion) and performs like a ceramic.

Endosseous implants are made of zirconium dioxide or zirconium oxide and have been used in implantology for decades. Albrektson and Hansson showed as early as 1984 that zirconium oxide can be easily integrated into the body. According to the literature, they are equal or even better in terms of osseointegration, and preferable with regard to soft tissue integration. Former production-related prob-lems (fractures, surfaces) have been optimized over the years, so that they are becoming progressively more established in the implant market. Increasingly, experts speak of a slow but steady paradigm shift.


A recurring theme of zirconium implants is that of radioactivity. The radioactive isotopes that may still be present in zirconium are removed in the zirconium oxide manufacturing process, resulting in expected zirconium implant values of 3-4 mSv/year mm2. For comparison: the metacrylates used in dentistry are in the range of 2-3 mSV/year. Further, background radiation (earthly radiation, food, cosmic radiation) in Western Europe is on average 1-4 mSV/year. Thus, the radioactivity of zirconium implants can be considered negligible.

Professor Wainwright has many years of experience with 3 different systems (Z-Systems, SDS and Zeramex). In his course, he will present scientific principles as well as practical clinical case studies. Participants will be given the opportunity to insert ceramic implants using phantom models or pig jaws. At his side, as partner, is the company Dentalpoint with the Zeramex System. Dentalpoint has been researching and producing zirconium implants for more than 10 years and has brought a reliable implant system onto the market, which offers users the full freedom of prosthetic implant restoration through the possibility of screw-retained superstructures.

Course schedule

  • Theory of physics and differences to titanium dioxide
  • Development of zirconium implants
  • Relevance of the surface for osseointegration
  • Clinical case studies
  • Do’s and dont’s
  • Troubleshooting
  • Hands-on

Course duration: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, including café and lunch break

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