If dental industry executive Michael Foley and his North American distributing company Emerginnova has its way, the next titan dental battle will be between metal-free ceramic dental implants and the conventional titanium implants.
For readers unfamiliar with dental implants, a dental implant is an artificial tooth root conventionally made of titanium that is fused into your jaw to hold a dental crown, bridge, or denture. Dental implants provide a durable foundation for permanent or removable replacement teeth substituting for natural teeth.
Most importantly, for those that love eating (you know who you are), implants make it easier to eat one’s favorite foods because implants don’t slip and slide like dentures often do.
Since the first implant (not counting the Mayan guinea pig who used sea shell fragments for lower teeth around 600 AD), titanium has been the metal of choice.
Titanium implants are incredibly sturdy and often last a lifetime, but they have been in use long enough now their benefits are showing a few “cracks.”
“Titanium is a metal. Metals conduct heat, they are magnetic, and different metals in the mouth can actually create a galvanic reaction…all of these facts about titanium leads to increased bacteria and plaque attaching to the surface of the implant,” Foley replied in an email interview with Agent Straight-Talk.
Acids, salts and bacteria are all contributing to the degradation of the titanium, too, he added.
Foley has had an interest in biological dentistry since working as Anthogyr's North American Agent of distribution and sales in 2006. Anthogyr is a dental equipment manufacturer based in France near Geneva, Switzerland.
Foley said over time Anthogyr moved into dental implants and today they enjoy worldwide popularity for their AXIOM line of implants.
Enter entrepreneur Mike Foley. Foley’s family is from Belgium, but he grew up around Atlanta where he attended the University of Georgia. Throughout school Foley had his eye on working in export management, representing the U.S. and managing sales to other countries, specifically Europe.
His fluency in French led to an opportunity with Anthogyr and their desire to bring their AXIOM implants into the U.S. market. Today Foley still works with the France-based manufacturer, but his role changed in 2014 when Anthogyr chose to focus their production “bite” on Europe and other markets.
Married and back in the U.S. with an infant son at the time, Foley recalls a light clicked on when solely by chance he attended a meeting in Miami with the International Academy of Ceramic Implants (IAOCI).
Foley’s research for Anthogyr showed that the market for titanium implants was leaning towards cheaper production costs and more commercial offerings.
Intrigued by the idea of ceramic implants, Foley met with a surgeon named Jens Tartsch the following year in Zurich. Dr. Tartsch introduced Mike to the Zeramex system, a two-piece, screw-retained ceramic implant.
Then and now, all the ceramic implants in the U.S. were manufactured with the implant and abutment as a single piece. This can cause temporization (integration) issues for a patient and make removing the abutment difficult, if necessary.
And that’s not even considering what Foley refers to as “the sleeping dragon” factor of dental implants.
“We say that titanium implants have a clinical success rate of 98%, but don’t mention that 20% (of implant patients) have inflammation around the implant. And that’s inflammation that sends the patient back to the dentist for gum tissue treatments,” he said.
And that’s a big reason why Mike Foley became more involved in biological dental solutions like ceramic implants.
He says there are three reasons why he believes ceramic implants made of zirconia are superior to conventional titanium implants.
The first reason is because…doggone it, we’re out of time and near our pixel limit. Check back with us soon to learn Mike’s reasons why ceramic implants are advantageous over conventional implants, and how a carbon fiber threaded screw has revolutionized ceramic implants and made them an ideal bio-friendly alternative to titanium implants.
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