Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) Implants: The Future of Dental Implantology?

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Abstract

For decades titanium has been the preferred material for dental implant fabrication, with mechanical and biological performance resulting in high clinical success rates. These have been further enhanced by incremental development of surface modifications aimed at improving speed and degree of osseointegration and resulting in enhanced clinical treatment options and outcomes. However, increasing demand for metal-free dental restorations has also led to the development of ceramic-based dental implants, such as zirconia. In orthopedics, alternative biomaterials, such as polyetheretherketone or silicon nitride, have been used for implant applications. The latter is potentially of particular interest for oral use as it has been shown to have antibacterial properties. In this article we aim to shed light on this particular biomaterial as a future promising candidate for dental implantology applications, addressing basic specifications required for any dental implant material. In view of available preclinical data, silicon nitride seems to have the essential characteristics to be a candidate for dental implants material. This novel ceramic has a surface with potentially antimicrobial properties, and if this is confirmed in future research, it could be of great interest for oral use.

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