Dental Implants Metal Allergy

Most people who have researched dental restoration options agree that dental implants are the optimal solution for people who are missing one or more of their natural teeth. The benefits provided by dental implants are countless. Not only do dental implants look just like healthy, natural teeth, if not even a little better, they also function like natural teeth in a few important ways. The first way, of course, is that they help people bite and chew food – this is the most obvious way the teeth function. What people may not realize, however, is that the teeth also serve a function for the body. The roots of healthy teeth stimulate the bone that supports them with each application of pressure, like with chewing, and help maintain the health of the bone in the jaw. This is why people who are missing multiple teeth may appear as if their lower faces are sunken in or prematurely old: the bone in their jaw is no longer being exercised by teeth, and it has been reabsorbed into the body for more efficient use elsewhere. Dental implants confer this same benefit, stimulating bone growth and supporting the continued health of the bone tissue. With all these benefits, it can be upsetting to think you might not be able to get dental implants because you have a metal allergy. Perhaps in the past, you’ve had a reaction to metal, either in a dental filling or another medical setting, but this doesn’t mean that dental implants can’t be an option for you.

In reality, many people who have manifested allergies to metal alloys traditionally used in dental fillings and restorations may not be allergic to the metal used in dental implants, which is medical-grade titanium. In the rare cases where a patient is allergic to titanium, zirconia dental implants could be an effective replacement option. But before we get into this solution for patients who want dental implants but have a metal allergy, it’s a good idea to have a working understanding of how allergies work. If you think about it, the human body has different substances entering it regularly, between food and drink, air and all it contains, the things we touch, and a whole host of other things. When a person has an allergic reaction to one of these substances, their immune system overreacts and attempts to reject the irritant. This immune reaction manifests as inflammation; whether the reaction is a minor skin rash or a significant anaphylactic episode, the body is responding by swelling, in an attempt to expel the irritant. In some cases, the allergic reaction subsides when the allergen is removed, and in other cases, the effects are more damaging. People can be allergic to basically anything, and it’s not uncommon to be allergic to metal, though the vast majority of people who are allergic to metal are allergic to nickel and not to other metals. These allergies usually manifest following surface contact with inexpensive jewelry and will cause itching or a rash. When a metal implant is placed directly in the body, however, the immune system’s goal is to reject the implant, removing the irritant.

As you can see, in cases where a metal allergy is present, it may not be a good idea to get titanium implants. Your dentist can give you a blood test, called a MELISA test, to assess whether you’re allergic to medically pure titanium. If you are, or if you simply want to avoid metal dental implants for your own reasons, ask your dentist about zirconia dental implants. Zirconia implants are a relatively recent innovation in the field of implant dentistry, and they have proven to be an effective alternative to titanium in many cases. Zirconia has a very low risk of allergic response, even lower than titanium, and it has been shown to integrate with the bone at rates similar to titanium. This process, called osseointegration, occurs as the bone heals around the dental implants and fuses to the implants. It is this fusion that allows dental implants to do their work both as chewing machines and jaw exercisers, and this fusion that helps make dental implants such a durable, long-lasting option for people who want to replace at least one missing tooth.

Zirconia is also strong and bacteria-resistant, and its natural white color and luminousness resemble porcelain, but it is far more resilient and strong. The natural appearance of zirconia provides the side benefit of being more natural-looking than titanium, which can sometimes be seen through areas of very thin gum tissue when metal implants are used; because it’s white and luminous, zirconia looks more like a natural tooth root. Zirconia implants have been used since the late 1980s and have increased vastly in popularity since their introduction. Because their lifespan is relatively short, however, there is insufficient evidence about their longevity, but research indicates that this can be expected to be comparable to titanium. Also because of their relative novelty, there aren’t as many types of dental implant components available in zirconia materials, which may rule them out when more complex restoration arrangements require a broader range of component shapes. This may be the case in particularly elaborate dental implant plans, but innovations occur rapidly, so it’s always worth checking in with your dentist to learn about the possibilities with zirconia dental implants.

For some people, dental implants just aren’t a realistic option, either due to clinical complexity, cost, personal preference, and many other factors. For people who can’t or won’t get dental implants, a dental bridge might be a viable solution for missing teeth. A dental bridge is a dental restoration that uses the teeth on both sides of a missing tooth or row of teeth, called abutment teeth, to support a dental prosthetic. This dental prosthetic is supported by two dental crowns that fit over the abutment teeth and are cemented in place, making a dental bridge a long-term solution. Dental bridges can be used to bridge the gap left behind by a single missing tooth or by a few teeth in a row. When cared for properly, dental bridges can be a long-lasting solution that can help restore the ability to eat and chew and rehabilitate the smile. No matter what type of restoration you choose, all types of dental bridges and dental implants require diligent care to keep them functioning well and looking good, and your dentist can make sure you know how to work with your dental restorations and keep them clean. In general, permanent dental restorations are cared for much like the natural teeth, with regular brushing and flossing and regular dental visits, and your regular care of your dental implants or dental bridge can go a long way toward helping them help you for a lifetime.

Dental Implants Existing Partial

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