Dental implants are in most cases a highly successful procedure, with an implant survival rate of about 92 percent over a period of seven years. But while most dental implant patients recover from their installation without issues, some do experience complications, including allergic reactions to the metals in the implant. The symptoms of these allergies can be subtle and emerge years after the implant is installed, meaning both you and your dentist will need to be prepared to recognize the signs.
Assessing Your Risk for Allergies
Most dental implants use posts made of titanium or a titanium alloy. Titanium is favored because it integrates well with the bones and tissue of your jaw and is relatively inert, meaning it can last decades in your mouth without deteriorating. Allergic reactions to titanium dental implants are thought to occur in less than 1 percent of patients, but your odds increase if you suffer from other metal allergies.
Testing for a Titanium Allergy
If you do need to avoid other types of metals, you should be tested for a titanium allergy before having an implant installed. This may be as simple as exposing a section of your skin to titanium, or it may require sending a specimen into a lab for testing. If the results come back negative and you are otherwise eligible for your implant, you should be cleared for the procedure.
Recognizing Symptoms of a Titanium Allergy
Even a stable metal such as titanium will release ions into the gum tissue surrounding an implant, and it is these ions that trigger an allergic response from your body. If you have an undiagnosed titanium allergy, you may experience swelling, soreness, and facial rashes around the implant and across your face. If this reaction isn't very severe, you or your dentist may mistake the problem for an infection or unrelated health problem, which is why it is important to keep the possibility of an allergic response in mind.
Exploring Your Options With Allergies
After you have been diagnosed with a titanium allergy, you will need to reconsider your options to fill the gap in your smile. While patients a few years ago were often out of luck, you may now be able to replace your implant with one made from a more hypoallergenic material like zirconium. Whenever you suspect that your implant isn't functioning as intended, schedule an appointment with your dentist to have it examined and get to the root of the problem before it has a chance to spread or worsen.
Talk to dentists like John S. Lyon DDS to learn more about your dental implant options.
Up until a year ago, I did my best to keep my teeth and gums clean. But after securing a new job, I began to work late into the night and didn't have the time or energy to brush and floss before I retired to bed. My busy schedule and poor dental hygiene finally affected my teeth and gums. After experiencing severe pain in several of my teeth, I made an appointment with my dentist. My dentist examined my mouth and discovered three large cavities in my molars. After four long weeks, my dentist finally completed my dental work. I learned a very painful lesson during that time. No matter how busy you are, always brush and floss. I started this blog to inform other people about the importance of good dental care. I hope you find the time to read it. Thanks for visiting.