What is Titanium Intolerance? Signs, Diagnosis, and Prevention of Allergies to Titanium Dental Implants

by Dental-Pedia
Titanium dental implants can trigger titanium intolerance or allergies

Are you allergic to titanium dental implants? 

Dental implants are the ideal means of replacing damaged or missing teeth. If you’re considering dental implants, you can rest assured that they display high success rates with a negligible risk of implant failures. You can get dental implants in titanium or zirconia (ceramic) materials, both of them displaying similar success rates. But some patients with titanium implants exhibit allergic reactions to the metal, leading to titanium intolerance or hypersensitivity. If you’re considering titanium implants, you should be aware of the possible  long-term risks. This article helps you understand titanium intolerance, its symptoms, solutions, and preventative options. 

Titanium intolerance is a condition wherein your body rejects the titanium dental implant

What is Titanium Intolerance? 

Titanium intolerance is a condition wherein your body rejects the titanium implant. Titanium is generally safer than all other metals, but some people still have allergic reactions, eventually leading to implant failure. According to the International Journal of Implant Dentistry, titanium allergies occur because the implant’s gradual corrosion makes the titanium alloy particles interact with the surrounding tissues, leading to hypersensitivity and inflammation. 

Identifying and treating titanium implant allergy is challenging because the symptoms may appear several days, weeks, months, or even years after the surgery. In many cases, patients suffer from the symptoms of titanium intolerance for months before identifying the actual problem. If you have titanium dental implants, you must be extremely vigilant about the early signs and symptoms of intolerance. You should also go for regular dental check-ups. 

Signs and symptoms of titanium intolerance in dental implant patients

Signs & Symptoms of Titanium Intolerance in Dental Implant Patients 

Redness around the implant site (erythema) 

Hives around the skin and gum tissues (urticaria) 

Inflammation of the skin and gum tissues (eczema) 

Swelling and severe pain around the implant site 

Death of gum tissues around the implant (necrosis) 

Toxic symptoms in other body parts, such as the nails, lungs, etc. 

Loss of bone tissues around the implant site 

Aching sensations in the muscles and joints 

Neurological problems 

Early diagnosis of titanium intolerance or titanium allergies in dental implant patients can save your implants

Diagnosing Titanium Intolerance 

If you identify the aforementioned signs or symptoms of titanium intolerance, you must contact your dentist immediately. The dentist will perform numerous diagnostic tests, such as the patch test, to determine if you have titanium intolerance. In some cases, the dentist may also recommend in vitro blood tests, such as the lymphocyte transformation test and the lymphocyte migration inhibition test, to identify metal allergies. If you have titanium intolerance, the implant may have to be removed. 

Zirconia Implants: The Alternative to Titanium Implants

Zirconia Implants: The Alternative to Titanium Implants 

If you have titanium allergies (or don’t want to take chances), you can consider zirconia implants instead of titanium implants. Zirconia implants are made of ceramic instead of titanium, so they don’t carry the risk of titanium allergies, so you don’t have to worry about titanium intolerance or implant failure in the future. Until recently, dentists were skeptical of using zirconia implants because they were deemed weaker, but recent studies have shown that zirconia implants have similar success rates as titanium implants. 

You can also consider dental bridges or dentures to replace your missing teeth. But those options don’t provide the same satisfaction — they don’t preserve your bone structure, feel slightly unnatural, and don’t restore complete functionality. As such, ceramic implants are the ideal alternatives to titanium implants for those concerned about potential titanium intolerance or allergies. 

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