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Since dental implants are composed from titanium, many people assume that metal allergies disqualify them from the tooth replacement procedure. While it’s certainly a possibility, the fact that you have a metal allergy does not in itself determine your eligibility for dental implants.
Metal is an element, so being allergic to metal is not the same as being allergic to metallics. Metallics are alloys, which are composed from compounds of two or more metals. The type of allergic reaction that proximity to metal elicits in your body can also vary dramatically. Allergic reactions can be as innocuous as a mild rash or as severe as death if the body goes into a multi-system shutdown known as anaphylactic shock.
Dental implants are typically fashioned out of commercially pure titanium or titanium alloy. Titanium’s biocompatibility is the driving force behind the high success rate of dental implants, as it enables the implant to actually fuse with the patient’s jawbone and serve as a permanent long-term tooth replacement. However, a recent study conducted by Clinical Oral Implants Research did reveal that metallic dental implants and related dental repairs could potentially trigger an adverse reaction. In the study of 1500 participants, researchers were able to detect titanium allergies in dental implant patients, though the estimated frequency was only 0.6 percent.
The study found a markedly elevated risk of positive allergic reaction in patients who had lost implants for no known reason other than having a higher occurrence of allergy, so case testing could be recommended in those instances. This issue, however, became muddled by the overall implant construction, which consisted of several different metallics and other materials. In their report, the Clinical Oral Implants Research organization conceded that dental studies on allergic reactions to titanium implants and related intraoral prostheses are limited. As implants continue burgeoning in popularity, it stands to reason that allergic reactions to implants will be studied in more detail.
When you meet with your dentist to discuss your candidacy for dental implants and other tooth replacement treatments, be sure to disclose all of your allergies. Although you may be concerned about an allergic reaction to the titanium, the American Dental Association clearly states that there is always a chance of side effects when a foreign object enters your body. Consequently, implants as well as other dental materials used during oral procedures can potentially prompt a localized allergic reaction. Though this affects only a small number of patients, it is important to disclose any allergies to your dentist so he or she can choose the most appropriate materials and minimize the chances of allergic reaction.