Be Careful With Dental Implants August 08, 2009 4:39 AM
Be VERY Careful When Replacing Missing Teeth
By Dr. Lina Garcia
A dental implant is one option for replacing missing or badly
diseased teeth. It is composed of an artificial root that looks like a
post or screw and is covered with a dental crown.
Treatment involves the surgical placement of the implant into the
jawbone, where it is allowed to fuse to the bone in a process called
Once healed, the implant acts as an anchor for an artificial
replacement tooth, or crown. The crown is made to blend in with your
other teeth and is permanently attached to the implant.
A typical dental implant is made of pure titanium and/or a titanium alloy.
In fact, titanium alloys are widely used in both medicine and
dentistry, for dental implants, pacemakers, stents, orthodontal
brackets, and orthopedic implants (e.g., hip, shoulder, knee, or
elbow). Not only is titanium strong, but many consider it
biocompatible: it forms an oxide layer when exposed to air, and this
purportedly results in reduced corrosion and superior osseointegration.
So why should you reject the standard titanium metal implant?
Titanium is NOT Biologically Inert
Titanium implants release metal ions into your mouth 24 hours a day,
and this chronic exposure may trigger inflammation, allergies, and
autoimmune disease in susceptible individuals. They are a precursor to
Cases of intolerance to metal implants have been reported over the
years, and the removal of this incompatible dental material has
resulted in reduced metal sensitivity and long-term health improvement
in the majority of patients.
Titanium has the potential to induce hypersensitivity as well as other immunological dysfunctions.
One study investigated 56 patients who developed severe health
problems after receiving titanium-based dental implants. These medical
problems included muscle, joint, and nerve pain; chronic fatigue
syndrome; neurological problems; depression; and skin inflammation.
Removal of the implants resulted in a dramatic improvement in the
patients symptoms, as well as a decrease in many patients sensitivity
For example, a 54-year-old man with a titanium dental implant and
four titanium screws in his vertebra was so sick that he could not
work. He suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, cognitive impairment,
Parkinson-like trembling, and severe depression. Six months after the
removal of the implants and screws, he was able to return to work.
In another case, a 14-year-old girl developed inflammatory lesions
on her face six months after being fitted with titanium orthodontal
She was also mentally and physically exhausted, and her reactivity
to titanium skyrocketed. Within nine months of replacing the brackets
with a metal-free material, her facial lesions had almost completely
healed, she was healthy and active, and her sensitivity to titanium
returned to a normal level.
Titanium Implants Can Cause Cancer
Another complication of the use of implanted titanium is its
potential to induce the abnormal proliferation of cells (neoplasia),
which can lead to the development of malignant tumors and cancer.
Through rare, it is a well-known complication of orthopedic surgery
that involves the implantation of metallic hardware.
Furthermore, researchers recently uncovered the first reported case of a sarcoma arising in association with a dental implant.
As described in the August 2008 issue of JADA (The Journal of the American Dental Association),
a 38-year-old woman developed bone cancer eleven months after receiving
a titanium dental implant. Luckily, she was successfully treated with
chemotherapy, but the authors recommended further research into the
tumor-causing potential of dental implants in light of their increasing
popularity and their ability to last for longer periods of time.
Why You Want to Avoid ANY Kind of Metal in Your Mouth
the presence of any metal in your mouth sets the stage for galvanic
toxicity, because your mouth essentially becomes a charged battery
when dissimilar metals sit in a bed of saliva.
All that is needed to make a battery is two or more different metals
and a liquid medium that can conduct electricity (i.e., an
electrolyte). Metal implants, fillings, crowns, partials, and
orthodontics provide the dissimilar metals, and the saliva in your
mouth serves as the electrolyte.
An electric current called a galvanic current is then generated by
the transport of the metal ions from the metal-based dental
restorations into the saliva. This phenomenon is called oral
galvanism, and it literally means that your mouth is acting like a
small car battery or a miniature electrical generator. The currents can
actually be measured using an ammeter!
Oral galvanism creates two major concerns.
First, the electric currents increase the rate of corrosion (or
dissolution) of metal-based dental restorations.
This post was modified from its original form on 08 Aug, 4:40
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Dental Implants Continued August 08, 2009 4:42 AM
First, the electric currents increase the rate of
corrosion (or dissolution) of metal-based dental restorations. Even
precious metal alloys continuously release metal ions into your mouth
due to corrosion, a process that gnaws away bits of metal from the
These ions react with other components of your body, leading to
sensitivity, inflammation, and, ultimately, autoimmune disease.
Increasing the corrosion rate, therefore, increases the chance of
developing immunologic or toxic reactions to the metals.
Second, some individuals are very susceptible to these internal
electrical currents. Dissimilar metals in your mouth can cause
unexplained pain, nerve shocks, ulcerations, and inflammation, and many
people also experience a constant metallic or salty taste, or a burning
sensation in their mouth.
Moreover, there is the concern that oral galvanism directs
electrical currents into brain tissue and can disrupt the natural
electrical current in your brain.
New Alternatives to Titanium Implants
recent years, high-strength ceramic implants have become attractive
alternatives to titanium implants, and some current research has
focused on the viability of materials such as zirconia (the dioxide of
zirconium, a metal close to titanium on the periodic table).
Metal-free zirconia implants have been used in Europe and South
America for years, but they have only recently become available in the
Zirconia implants are highly biocompatible to the human body and exhibit minimum ion release compared to metallic implants.
Studies have shown that the osseointegration of zirconia and
titanium implants are very similar, and that zirconia implants have a
comparable survival rate, thereby making them an excellent alternative
to metal implants.
Moreover, zirconia ceramics have been successfully used in
orthopedic surgery to manufacture ball heads for total hip replacements.
Therefore, given that titanium dental implants can induce metal
sensitivity, inflammation, autoimmunity, and malignant tumors, while
zirconia implants are metal-free but just as durable, why invite
chronic metal exposure?
Your body would surely benefit from choosing the biocompatible,
ceramic dental implant over the standard, titanium metal implant.
Dr. Lina Garcia, a
committed holistic dentist for 25 years, has dedicated her practice to
using dental materials that will support your health and not disease.
In her practice, she offers only metal-free restorative materials,
including zirconia implants.
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