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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v15.i6.50
pages 617-628

Did We Push Dental Ceramics Too Far? A Brief History of Ceramic Dental Implants

James E. Haubenreich
Assistant Professor of Restorative Dentistry, Department of Oral Health Practice, University of Kentucky, College of Dentistry, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Fonda G. Robinson
Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry, Department of Oral Health Practice, University of Kentucky, College of Dentistry, Lexington, Kentucky
Karen P. West
Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, Department of Oral Health Practice, University of Kentucky, College of Dentistry, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Robert Q. Frazer
Assistant Professor of Restorative Dentistry, Department of Oral Health Practice, University of Kentucky, College of Dentistry, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

ABSTRACT

Humankind has developed and used ceramics throughout history. It currently has widespread industrial applications. Dental ceramics are used for fabricating highly esthetic prosthetic denture teeth, crowns, and inlays. However, ceramic's biocompatibility and compressive strength are offset by its hardness and brittleness. Nonetheless, a single crystal sapphire aluminum oxide endosseous implant was developed in 1972 as an alternative to metal. It was more esthetic than its metallic counterparts and was eventually produced in a variety of shapes and sizes. Clinical studies demonstrated its excellent soft and hard tissue biocompatibility, yet the range of problems included fractures during surgery, fractures after loading, mobility, infection, pain, bone loss, and lack of osseointegration. Ultimately, single crystal sapphire implants fell into irredeemable disfavor because of its poor impact strength, and dentists and surgeons eventually turned to other implant materials. However, bioactive ceramic coatings on metal implants have kept ceramics as a key component in dental implantology.