In conventional dentistry, titanium dental implants are used often because of properties that allow them to bond with living bone tissue, a process known as osseointegration. Today, over 95 percent of dental implant procedures performed use titanium alloys.
Although prevalent, titanium dental implants are not the only option in reconstructive dentistry. Many patients have concerns – and rightfully so – of introducing foreign metals into their body. The oral cavity is the gateway of the human body and all parts are interconnected. Thus, a titanium implant in your mouth can have serious consequences throughout the body, particularly if you suffer an allergy or sensitivity to metals. Titanium implants are called “alloys” because they are comprised of various metals, including iron, nickel, lead, zinc and copper. If you’ve had a reaction to any of these materials in the past, titanium alloys are not for you.
Titanium Dental Implants and Nickel Allergies
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 to 20 percent of Americans are allergic to nickel. As one of the most widespread allergies in the United States, many people don’t realize they are allergic to nickel until they have a reaction, typically from jewelry, coins, keys, cell phones, eyeglasses, paper clips, metal braces and even zippers. Symptoms typically occur 12 to 48 hours following contact, and people with a sensitivity will notice skin rash (dermatitis), bumps, redness, dry patches, itching or blisters. These reactions can last up to a month, and in rare cases triggers respiratory complications like nasal inflammation and asthma.
Titanium Alloy Reactions: More Than Skin Deep
Although not as widely documented, titanium alloys can cause more serious complications that affect your overall health.
Potential health side effects of titanium dental implants include the following:
- Autoimmune disease aggravation or initiation
- Galvanic toxicity: metal taste, sensation of electric charge when encountering other metals, chronic insomnia
- Implant rejection
- Free radical damage
- Bone loss
Ceramic or Zirconia implants, on the other hand, are virtually metal-free and biocompatible. Zirconia implants deliver a similar fusing for longevity and comfort, plus they eliminate any risk of corrosion inventible with titanium implants. They are non-conductive, which means patients are safe from electrical charges that could negatively disrupt the body’s natural processes. Further, Zirconia implants offer a one-piece design minimizes the potential for bacteria growth and infection. Aesthetically, Zirconia implants are preferred because of their white, opaque appearance that mirrors a natural tooth.
Assure A Smile is proud to offer Zirconia implants and ZERAMEX® ceramic implants at our South Florida dentistry. Our goal is to provide safe, reconstructive dentistry to all patients, including those with metal allergies or individuals concerned about systemic reactions. Call us today at 305-274-0047 for more information or to schedule an appointment.