Dental implants have become standard treatment for tooth loss, as they are permanent, act and look just like real teeth, and require no special maintenance. However, some people may be wary and cautious towards implants. Dental implants are still a relatively new operation and some people may be wondering if there are any long-term risks or effects of dental implants that they should be aware of.
The existing long-term studies of dental implants show that they are safe and effective for the vast majority of people, though there are always some risks. Below are some of the areas studies have been done in, and what they indicate.
Can dental implants lead to oral cancer?
A study published in the Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Research looked into the question on if dental implants increased a person’s risk of getting oral cancer. The study concluded that “a direct link between dental implants and oral cancer was not found.” Thus, the current research indicates that dental implants do not lead to oral cancer. Despite this good news, it’s ideal to have regular oral cancer screenings.
Are titanium implants toxic or allergenic?
Most dental implants are made of titanium. Thus, it’s important to understand the safety of titanium in relation to the human body. According to a study published in the International Journal of Implant Dentistry, it is possible for titanium implants to slowly wear out and corrode, leading to titanium alloy particles to be deposited to the rest of the body. While this is rare, it could potentially lead to health issues such as yellow nail syndrome.
It is also possible for a person to be allergic to titanium. While this is exceedingly rare, it is possible. If you think you might be allergic to titanium, it would be a good idea to take the “MELISA test.” This blood test is used to diagnose metal allergies. If you are allergic to titanium, you may want to consider getting dental implants made out of zirconia. Overall, titanium is known to cause fewer allergic reaction when compared to other metals such as nickel and palladium.
Are dental implants worth it?
While current research indicates dental implants to do not lead to oral cancer, there is some evidence that titanium in implants could potentially leech out in the long term — leading to potential health conditions.
As with every medical operation, dental implants have risks. But they also have significant benefits. The answer to whether it is worth it or not depends on what’s important to you. For some people, more confidence, natural looking teeth, and the ability to enjoy all of their favorite foods outweigh the very small risk of titanium-related health issues.
If you have more questions about dental implants, contact our office today to schedule your consultation visit.