For decades, dental implants have proven themselves to be one of the best ways to restore missing teeth. No other restorative method replaces a tooth down to the very root — it’s the closest you’ll get to having a real tooth in your jaw.
There are generally few reasons a person might not be a suitable candidate for dental implants. They might not have enough bone volume, or they might have health conditions which make surgeries risky, for example.
One of these lesser-known reasons someone might not be suitable, however, is metal allergy. When metals are introduced to the body, they can sometimes cause harmful reactions — from inflammation through to infection and even rejection of the implant by the body.
The solution? Metal free zirconia implants.
Dental Implant Metal Allergy
Most dental implants are made of a titanium alloy. Titanium is a popular choice for implants because it’s bio-inert —the body generally doesn’t react to its presence inside the body after implantation.
If titanium is bio-inert, how do you get an allergic reaction from it?
There are two ways:
Firstly, a reaction to the titanium itself is rare, but does happen. There are sensitivities and allergic reactions to just about every substance imaginable, even ones considered safe.
Secondly, implants are made of titanium alloy, not just pure titanium. Other trace elements can include aluminum, vanadium, and nickel. Even without a sensitivity to titanium itself, the other trace metal elements can cause a reaction.
In either scenario, an immune response is triggered in response to the metal being implanted into the jaw. The body detects the foreign object and tries to get rid of it to save itself from harm.
Another issue is that metals corrode in the mouth over time. Titanium implants are corrosion resistant, but there’s still a chance the trace elements will start to break down. Depending on the elements present in the implant, this can lead to reactions ranging from mild irritation, to seizures.
Signs of Metal Allergy
Metal sensitivity from implants can present itself through many symptoms:
• Chronic fatigue
• Joint and muscle pain
• Cognitive impairment
• Skin rashes
These reactions can cause the implant to fail, requiring it to be extracted from the jaw. This in turn can leave the patient much worse off than before they had the implant.
Zirconia Implants — The Hypoallergenic Alternative
As dental implant technology has developed, so too have the materials used to make viable implants.
Zirconia implants, also known as ceramic implants, are quickly gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional titanium implants. They are free of metal and made purely of zirconia and oxygen.
Because ceramic implants have no metal, they neither trigger an immune response nor hold the same risk of corroding in the mouth. Yet, despite being free of metal, they are just as durable, long-lasting, and effective as their titanium counterparts.
Other benefits of zirconia implants include:
• Superior esthetics. Titanium implants can sometimes result in a darkening of the gum around the base of the crown of the tooth, whereas this doesn’t occur with zirconia implants.
• They’re designed specifically for single-stage implants, meaning the implant is inserted and the restoration connected in one surgery. Titanium implants can do this, but are generally done in two stages 3-6 months apart — first the implant, then the restoration.
Ceramic implants are the ideal option for someone who needs to restore a missing tooth, but wants to avoid placing metal alloys into their body. Whether it’s because you know you have an allergy, or simply prefer a more holistic, natural approach to your healthcare, ceramic implants will provide all of the benefits with none of the drawbacks.
Want to find out more? Contact one of our team today to book a consultation and get started.