A few years ago, I realized that I was thinking about dental care all wrong. Instead of listening carefully to my dentist and making the necessary changes, I assumed that he was ultimately responsible for making sure that my teeth stayed healthy. Unfortunately, I developed a few serious cavities because I failed to properly brush and floss my teeth, and I knew that it was my fault. I decided to start taking notes at my dental checkups and carefully abiding by the dentist's orders. The difference was almost miraculous. This blog is all about working with your dentist to improve your result.
Dental implants work quite well for some people, but there is a risk that the implant will not fully integrate with your jaw. If you are concerned that your implant will not secure to the bone like it should, then there are several things your dentist can do to make sure you are receiving a dental implant device that will most likely be successful.
The Use Of Titanium Roots
If you receive an organ or tissue transplant, then your doctor will analyze the transplanted materials and make sure they are as compatible as possible with your own body. Blood type matching and antigen typing are used to make sure that the transplant will not be rejected. The same sort of matching and typing will be used if you receive a cadaver bone graft before your dental implant surgery. However, the implant root itself cannot be specifically matched to your body since the root is constructed out of a strong metal material. This means that the implant is a foreign body and there is some risk of rejection.
To combat foreign body rejection risks, your dental professional will choose a dental implant root made out of a biocompatible material. A biocompatible material is one that can live next to or within the natural tissues of the body without harming them. The metals that are considered biocompatible are stainless steel, cobalt-chromium, and titanium. Titanium is typically used due to its high level of biocompatibility, its overall strength, and its low weight.
Titanium cannot be used alone to create an implant root, because the material is a bit too soft. An alloy is required instead, and titanium is mixed with a small amount of nickel. The alloy is called nickel titanium or nitinol. The nickel content in the alloy is extremely low, but the metal can cause issues in some people who have a nickel allergy. There is a possibility that that implant will not integrate into the jaw if you have the allergy. Make sure to discuss your allergies with your dentist. A pure titanium dental implant root can often be used in place of the titanium alloy variety.
Titanium Metal Testing
It is fairly rare, but there are some individuals who are allergic to titanium. About 4% of all people tested for the metal allergy showed positive results. If you are allergic to one or several metals that you know of, then your dentist can order a titanium allergy test. A MELISA test will need to be performed. You will need to supply a blood sample to a local testing facility that performs the MELISA test, or your blood will be sent out to a MELISA testing facility.
If you are allergic to titanium, then your dental professional can choose to secure a zirconium root in your jaw. Zirconium is considered a ceramic material and the implant will appear white and opaque much like a dental crown. The material will contain metal ions, but it will act like a ceramic compound and it will be far less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Zirconium implants are strong but not as strong as titanium varieties. This means there is a chance that the root will crack or break, so zirconium should only be used in cases where titanium is not ideal. If you do need to receive a zirconium implant, speak with your dentist about ways that you can reduce stress on the root so you do not end up with a damaged implant.
Biocompatibility of your dental implant is extremely important if you want the root of the device to remain strongly secured in your jaw. Make sure to speak with your dentist about allergies, testing, and implant root materials to make sure you are receiving the optimal device for your situation. Talk to a dentist like Joe Rosenberg, DDS for more information.