Implant-retained and -supported full-arch removable treatment with ceramic dental implants is gaining popularity among edentulous adults in the United States. As the baby boomer population ages, the demand for dental implants, including ceramic implants, is on the rise. Removable overdentures are a preferred option for patients with financial limitations, oral hygiene limitations, or limited bone availability. Additionally, aesthetics play a crucial role in the decision-making process for patients. However, there is limited research available on ceramic implants and overdentures, especially 2-piece ceramic implants with locator-type abutments.
Advancements in ceramic implant manufacturing have made them a reliable option for patients. The use of load-bearing ceramics such as yttria-stabilized zirconia, zirconia-toughened alumina, and alumina-toughened zirconia has shown promising results. Two major methods of manufacturing ceramic implants, milling of a zirconia bloc and injection molding of a ceramic slurry, have demonstrated similar structural and mechanical stability. These improvements in ceramic implant materials and manufacturing have opened up more metal-free solutions for addressing edentulism. However, further research is needed to validate the long-term success and indications for removable full-arch solutions on ceramic implants.
In a case report, an 86-year-old female patient with complete maxillary edentulism opted for a removable overdenture due to financial constraints and less stringent hygiene requirements. Four Straumann Pure 2-piece ceramic implants were placed in the maxillary arch, and after a four-month healing period, PUREloc abutments were positioned. A palateless maxillary implant-supported overdenture was then fabricated and delivered to the patient. The patient expressed satisfaction with the retention, stability, aesthetics, and the ability to have an open palate and enjoy the taste of food.
The increasing demand for ceramic implants is primarily driven by patients who are becoming more aware of the benefits and are specifically requesting this treatment option. The authors of the study believe that offering wider implants with diameters of 5 mm and greater would provide better strength, support, and load distribution for edentulous solutions. Although currently limited to 4.1 mm in diameter, the Straumann Pure portfolio of 2-piece ceramic implants, there are other commercially available 2-piece ceramic implants with locator-type solutions that offer wider diameters, providing more options for both patients and clinicians. Continued research and advancements in ceramic implant technology will further expand the possibilities for full-arch removable treatment with ceramic dental implants.