Metal dental implants were originally made out of commercially pure titanium or titanium alloy, providing the only option for implant tooth restoration for many years. After years of study, we now know that placing metallic dental implants and other restorative devices can potentially provoke allergic reactions. One study involving 1,500 patients demonstrated that although rare, titanium allergy could be clearly detected in dental implant patients. One research paper published in 2010 indicated that “…the risk of an allergy to titanium is increased in patients who are allergic to other metals. In these patients, an evaluation of allergy is recommended, in order to exclude any problem with titanium medical devices.” Further research on the subject noted a higher risk of positive allergic reaction was found in patients whose implants failed for no other known reason other than that they had a higher incidence of allergic reaction.
Who cares about allergies?
Metal allergies are suspected by researchers and holistic dentists alike of being one of the most likely culprits behind the growing number of cases of autoimmune diseases in the United States including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Psoriasis, and Scleroderma, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and many others. A correlation between metal allergies and a weakened immune system suggests that it is not only important but imperative to take the necessary precautions to ensure that patients are biocompatible before allowing any substance or material to be permanently affixed into the mouth.
There’s more to titanium than you might think
Screw and abutments used in dental implants can be made from the same alloy, but frequently a combination of alloys are used including small amounts of nickel and gold. One of the more commonly reported metal allergies in dental patients is to nickel, which explains why anyone with known sensitivities to metals would be vulnerable to the side effects of titanium implants. Symptoms to metal implants can vary from patient to patient and often include oral burning sensation, general fatigue, skin rashes, a constant dull pain and in some cases loss of the implant. A paper published in July of 2011 focused on titanium allergy in patients who have undergone an implant, and it concluded in part; “This review of the literature indicates that titanium can induce hypersensitivity in susceptible patients and could play a critical role in implant failure.”
Titanium allergy is rarely documented in mainstream medicine however, it has been reported that about four percent of all patients tested will be allergic to titanium. For those affected with a titanium allergy, the symptoms can be quite intense and somewhat confusing ranging from simple skin rashes to deep muscle pain and overall fatigue – common systems for an immune system that perceives itself under attack.
The known effects of titanium allergy
Like all metals used in the medical field today titanium releases tiny particles as it begins to corrode. In the case of an implant, these metal particles become ions and bind to proteins found naturally throughout the body. In some people the body reacts to metal particles in the same way it does to a virus or other foreign substance and it will try to attack the ‘invader’. This starts a chain reaction which can lead to many symptoms including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Allergy Testing – An Important Part of the Whole
Our unique focus on dental health takes into consideration a patient’s oral health in relation to the whole body, including identifying and treating issues pertaining to allergies and autoimmune disorders.
That is why we consider ceramic dental implants to be the better and safest alternative to metal implants. The advantage of these implants is that they are ceramic, and thus there is no concern of corrosion, allergic reaction or electronic interference.