Dental implants are manufactured and installed with every intention that they'll be biologically compatible with their host (which is you). The implant itself is the small screw that's actually placed in your jawbone, mimicking the function of a tooth root. This screw is made of titanium alloy. For most patients, biocompatibility with their implant is assured. But what if you're someone who has an allergy to titanium or one of the other metals contained in the alloy?
Severity of an Allergy
Much like any allergy, the severity of a metal allergy can differ a lot from one person to the next. A mild allergy to the venom in a bee sting can result in increased swelling and pain at the site of the sting, more so than someone without an allergy. A serious allergy to a bee sting can result in anaphylactic shock, leading to respiratory distress. Similarly, a titanium allergy can result in mild discomfort (much like an un-scratchable itch in the tissues around the implant). It could also lead to severe inflammation and pain around the implant.
You Must Inform Your Dentist
Anyone with a metal allergy should inform their dentist once the possibility that you'll need an implant is suggested. An implant is, without doubt, the most effective way to replace a missing permanent tooth. It can recreate the exact look and strength of a natural tooth, which isn't possible with a partial denture, dental bridge, or any other prosthetic tooth that sits on top of your gums. Without the jaw-based foundation of an implant, a prosthetic tooth will never be able to sustain as much bite pressure as a natural tooth.
Your allergy isn't going to stop you from getting your much-needed dental implant. Instead, your dentist will arrange for a customized zirconia implant to be made. Zirconia is an ultra-strong type of ceramic, and many permanent prosthetic teeth are made from the same material. A zirconia prosthetic tooth can handle all the pressure of a natural tooth, and a zirconia implant can handle all the pressure of a natural tooth root.
Although your implant isn't made of the most common material, your oral surgery won't be any different, and the end result is exactly the same—the implant is placed within your upper or lower jawbone, as needed. Your jaw gets to work making new bone tissues around the implant, which locks it into place. As soon as this healing has occurred, your dentist can attach a natural-looking prosthetic tooth to your implant.
So if you're not compatible with a titanium implant, your dentist can arrange another implant that's kind to your body.
For more information about dental implants, contact a dentist.