Can Your Body Reject A Dental Implant?

As the name might suggest, dental implants require implantation, which is a surgical procedure. It's not an especially complicated or invasive surgery, although some adverse effects are to be expected. Some swelling and discomfort are inevitable, and if these symptoms should linger, it can be a sign of a postoperative complication. Although rare, an infection isn't unheard of. However, lingering discomfort doesn't conclusively mean that you're experiencing an infection. 

Fused Into Place

When an implant is placed in your jawbone, a process called osseointegration begins. Your jawbone integrates with the titanium alloy implant, fusing it into place so that it can support the prosthetic tooth that will be bonded to it. And yet, your jawbone might have other ideas.

The Preferred Material

Titanium is the preferred material for use in dental implant services because it's extremely durable and is hypoallergenic, which means it's extremely unlikely that you will experience any allergy or irritation to the material. However, extremely unlikely isn't the same as impossible.

A Previously Undiagnosed Issue

Lingering discomfort in the weeks after an implant has been placed can suggest a previously undiagnosed sensitivity or allergy to the titanium contained in the implant. Your body is quite literally rejecting the implant, hence your discomfort. You may begin to experience increased swelling, and the implant site may feel itchy. Of course, an allergy must be confirmed by your dentist, and lingering discomfort should be promptly investigated. 

Removing the Allergen

Once an allergy has been confirmed, your dentist will generally remove the implant. This might sound discouraging, but is a far better choice than allowing an allergen to remain in your body. While titanium is the preferred material for an implant, it's not the only material. 

Zirconia (zirconium dioxide) is a robust ceramic alternative to titanium. While it's certainly not ideal to have an existing implant removed and replaced, this is the most appropriate course of action for anyone whose body has rejected a titanium implant. Zirconia offers comparable strength to its titanium implant while being free of the metal compounds that triggered your reaction to the initial implant.

Any allergies should be discussed with your dentist prior to receiving an implant; however, you might be unaware that your body will have an adverse reaction to titanium until the implant has been placed. Fortunately, an alternative is possible, meaning you won't miss out on the clear benefits of this type of permanent tooth replacement. Reach out to a dentist for more information about dental implants