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I recently lost a back tooth. I’m just getting a bridge to fix it. However, if I ever lose a front tooth, I think I would rather have a dental implant. The problem I face is I have fairly severe metal allergies. I can’t wear anything that has metal in it including buttons on jeans, sandals, jewelry. We know with certainty I am allergic to nickel and mercury. The mercury explains why I’ve been having so many breathing problems because I have mercury fillings that I need to get rid of. But, I digress… back to the dental implants. Is it possible to get dental implants that do not have metal in them?
I have good news for you on three fronts. First, you may not even need metal-free implants. This is because traditional dental implants are made from titanium. This is not only inert, but also one of the most biocompatible metals around. It’s been used in prosthetics for decades, such as hip replacements and many others. It is extraordinarily rare to have an allergy to titanium. That being said, you do have a metal-free option.
There are now zirconia-based dental implants. These have no metal, yet are still strong enough to handle the biting forces of your teeth. In fact, zirconia has been dubbed “ceramic steel”. The only downside to them is they have not been around as long. We don’t have the long-term data on them that we have for their traditional counterparts. This means two things for you. 1. Not as many dentists will use them. I’ll tell you how to find one who will in a moment. 2. They may or may not last as long as the titanium ones. We can’t tell you either way because, again, we don’t have the data yet.
If you want the zirconia dental implants, your best bet is to find a highly skilled implant dentist who also considers him or herself a holistic dentist. Holistic dentists are much more willing to work around their patient’s metal sensitivities.
I mentioned a third piece of good news for you. Holistic dentists will also know how to safely remove and replace amalgam fillings (the ones with all the mercury) in a way that will not harm you or trigger your allergies.
This blog is brought to you by Baton Rouge Dentist Dr. John Theriot.