Italian National Research Council, Institute for the Science and Technology of Ceramics, (CNR-ISTEC) Faenza (RA)
Chapter 1 “Biomaterial Ceramic”
Zirconia in dental implants: an overview
Zirconia (Yttria-stabilized Tetragonal Zirconia Polycrystals: Y-TZP) was introduced in dentistry and in orthopedics during the second half of the 1980s, thanks to its outstanding mechanical behavior due to tetragonal-monoclinic phase transformation. In addition, Y-TZP clinical records evidence the excellent biological safety of this hi-tech ceramic. In dentistry, the uses of zirconia are manifold, the main ones being dental implantology (fixtures and abutments), restorative dentistry (CAD-CAM blanks as material for crowns, bridges, FPDs) and more recently full contour zirconia crowns.
So far, a number of ceramic implant systems is on the market, enlarging the number of solutions available for dentists to fulfill their patients’ needs. The scientific literature shows that the osseointegration of zirconia and titanium implants is similar. In addition, ceramic implants are offering advantages over titanium in terms of esthetics and hygienic properties. The concerns of a growing share of the public about sensitization to metals is also contributing to the demand of metal-free devices in dentistry.
This presentation briefly reviews the evolution of ceramics dental implantology, the chemical-physical and mechanical properties of zirconia, the behavior of zirconia in the interaction with the implant environment. In addition, this presentation outlines the development now in progress in ceramic implantology based on new zirconia-based dispersion ceramics, the improvements introduced in the manufacturing processes, new design of implants and on the surface treatments aimed to improve the osseointegration of ceramic devices.
In the New Materials Division of the National Agency for New Technology, Energy and the Environment (ENEA) up to 2000, performing since 1988 research on ceramic biomaterials. From 2000 appointed as R&D Project Manager in Tecnobiomedica S.p.A working on the development of medical devices for orthopedic and cardiovascular applications. From 2005 to 2014 he was Scientific Director of the MeLab R&D facility of GHIMAS S.p.A. (Brindisi, Italy), working on ceramic and polymeric scaffolds for bone tissue engineering.
Since 1997 Lecturer in the School of Orthopedics, Faculty of Medicine of the Catholic University in Rome, where he currently teaching in Applied Physics. He is Fellow in the Centre for New Materials for Prosthetic Technologies, in the University of Tor Vergata, Roma, Italy, and associate member of the Institute for the Science and Technology of Ceramic Materials of the Italian National Research Council (ISTEC-CNR), Faenza, Italy. Prof. Piconi is member of the Board of International Academy of Ceramic Implantology (IAOCI), active member of the Italian Society for Biomaterials (SIB), of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB), of the International Society for Ceramics in Medicine (ISCM), of the Italian Society for Research in Orthopedics (IORS). He is referee for international scientific journals in the field of biomaterials. He is author of more than 100 articles and book chapters with more than 2000 citations by December 2016.