Dental implants have been used as far back as 2000BC, and since then have developed into highly sophisticated solutions for tooth replacement. It is becoming increasingly important for the materials used in dental implants to exhibit and maintain favorable long-term mechanical, biological and more recently, aesthetic properties. This review aims to assess the biomaterials used in modern dental implants, introducing their properties, and concentrating on modifications to improve these biomaterials. Focus is drawn to the prominent biomaterials, titanium (Ti) and zirconia due to their prevalence in implant dentistry. Additionally, novel coatings and materials with potential use as viable improvements or alternatives are reviewed. An effective dental biomaterial should osseointegrate, maintain structural integrity, resist corrosion and infection, and not cause systemic toxicity or cytotoxicity. Current materials such as bioactive glass offer protection against biofilm formation, and when combined with a titanium–zirconium (TiZr) alloy, provide a reliable combination of properties to represent a competitive alternative. Further long-term clinical studies are needed to inform the development of next-generation materials.
Biomaterials have become essential for modern implants. A suitable implant biomaterial integrates into the body to perform a key function, whilst minimizing negative immune response. Focusing on dentistry, the use of dental implants for tooth replacement requires a balance between bodily response, mechanical structure and performance, and aesthetics. This mini-review addresses the use of biomaterials in dental implants with significant comparisons drawn between Ti and zirconia. Attention is drawn to optimizing surface modification processes and the additional use of coatings. Alternatives and novel developments are addressed, providing potential implications of combining biomaterials to form novel composites that combine and synergize the benefits of each material.