Metal Allergy: Are Implants Still An Option?

Sharon, a prospective dental implant patient from New York, asks:

I am a 48 year old female in excellent health with an allergy to nickel. I have problems wearing any metal jewelry for more than a few hours. I am scheduled for mini-implant placement next week. I’m wondering, if any negative effects have been reported in dental implant patients who may have a metal allergy or sensitivity? Any information, such as recent studies etc., would be appreciated.

34 thoughts on “Metal Allergy: Are Implants Still An Option?

  1. Sharon, I recently searched the internet for information on titanium allergies. What I found would indicate that your risk of having an allergic reaction to titanium ** may ** be slightly higher since you already have the nickel allergy. HOWEVER, even in that case, your risk is extremly low. Remember, titanium is used for most everything durable that is implanted in humans, with very high success rates. Dental implants in general have better than 90% success. One of the most common allergies is to nickel. I was able to find only a very small number of verified titanium allergies (less than 20 worldwide, over years) although an allergist might have better information. I don’t have my listings, but others here will, no doubt, present some.

  2. First of all, this is grade IV titanium, which means it is not pure but an alloy. Although rare, metal allergies do occur and can occur with grade IV titanium as pure titanium is too brittle. Most likely the allergy to the other metals in the alloy. I had a patient spit two implant out at me after less than one month with an ISQ (mentor) reading of >50 and initial torque stability at 40-50 Ncm. After the second one was spit out, a gram stain of the tissue was obtained and it was full of eosinophils which could mean a severe allergy. After questioning the patient, he came forth that his facial, nasal and tongue piercings all failed shortly after being placed.

  3. Hello Sharon,
    I work for the world’s leading dental esthetics company, Nobel Biocare and am often asked about this type of allergy. You can always have a skin test done by your doctor and Nobel Biocare will provide the titanium to do so. The results of this test would only apply to Nobel implants as other companies may not have the same alloy. Simply contact you local Nobel Biocare representative and make this request.

  4. Hello Sharon,

    Do never trust a sales rep. Trust your GP or specialist. They are the best to give you the right direction to fallow (they have the knowledge). I’am also a sales rep working for a well known implant campagny.

  5. Sharon,
    You ask a very important question. There is a test through Clifford Labs in Colorado that will perform compatibility testing for dental materials including implants. It can even identify brands of implants that may not be satisfactory. It requires a blood draw and takes about 1 week. I have used them for years especially when extensive dentistry is expected. This service is also available for prosthetic replacements.
    Regards,
    Dr. S

  6. Clifford Lab.’s practice/service provides a unique way for risk communication and risk managerment.

    What might be the limitation and advantage of using sensitivity to GROUP or FAMILY?

    Another concern is this is a blood based test on soluable compounds, not a mucosal reaction on surface.

    Is skin-based test good enough for risk managerment? Any data to support this claim?

  7. I had a dental implant in January 2008. I am scheduled to have the final tooth inserted later this month (April). Since the day I had the implant put in I have had a bad metal taste (like sucking on a penny) and an upset stomach. At first I thought it was the antibiotics so I stopped taking them but no change. I have other gold in my mouth but have never had a reaction to metal. Anybody have the same reaction or cure.

  8. Have you been on a medicated antibacterial mouth rinse such as Clorhexidine after the Implant was placed? Sometimes prolonged usage of the mouth wash can leave a metallic taste as they alter the perception of taste by modifying the taste buds. Usually reverses on stoppage of Mouthwash

  9. I had dental implants in July of 1999. Around Oct. I
    started experiencing extreme heaviness in both legs.
    It’s been ongoing and no Doctor can identify the problem. When I walk I feel like I’m pulling a sled loaded with objects. I believe I may be allergic to the titanium! Has anyone else experienced these symptoms? I’m desperate for an answer! I live in Methuen MA. and would like to know where I can be tested for heavy metal allergies. Thanks Carol

  10. Hi It’s me again, after much research on dental implant allergies, it looks like the metal posts that are not made of titanium, might possibly be the problem.
    Has anyone out there gone through this extreme fatigue that I have experienced for almost ten years?
    Both of my legs are affected and I can only describe it
    as total heaviness, thus making long distance walking
    incredibly difficult! Again, I am looking to be tested for allergies to any form of metals. I live in Methuen MA and would appreciate any help….Thanks, Carol Boutin

  11. My wife had a Grade 2 Titanium implant put in this past January. About two months later, she noticed a metallic taste, but her “flipper,” AKA, temporary when in place blocked the taste, so she was convinced once the post and crown were in place, the taste would disappear. However, once the crown was in place, the metallic taste continued and got worse, since there was no way to find relief. Finally, she found by placing sugarless gum over the front and back gum areas, the taste stopped. Her dental surgeon has never seen a case like this. It looks like the only solution is to remove the implant and replace it with a crown. Is there anyway to block the implant and leave it in place?

  12. Dental implant succes rates are about 95-98%.
    Most failures are due to bad oral hygiene, diabetes and smoking.
    When metal allergy is the cause, most probably it is due to the suprastructure which is made from gold, palladium, nickel, chromium, or some other metals.
    In that case one could fabricate zirconia (metal free) abudment and crowns, which I favour personally most.
    One should be aware that orthopediac implants are almost always made from stainless steel (316L) which contains nickel, cobalt and chromium. Adverse reactions to these implants are probably much more frequent.
    All in all there is very low risk of having and allergic reaction to dental (TiO) implants.
    PS metal taste may also be due to bleeding of the gums in case of periodontitis as blood contains al lot of Iron.

  13. Just had the final crown placed on my dental implant two weeks ago. Since last week I have had a coated tongue, upset stomach and terrible metallic taste in my mouth that almost makes me ill. Was interested in some of your bloggers but also checked on metallic taste and upset stomach and found that several of the foods that I was unable to eat with my flipper, I am now enjoying…possibly to excess. I am going to try drinking 1/4 tsp of baking soda in water twice a day and avoid ice cream and pizza. I hope I can chalk this one up to coincidence!

  14. I had two dental implants placed in my upper gums. Everything went well and after 6 months I had the crowns placed. Several weeks later I developed a mixed taste in my mouth. Sometimes it was as if I had a mouth full of salt. Other times it tasted horribly metallic. Nothing would relieve the taste. I had no discomfort at either implant. After repeated visits to the dentist and oral surgeon complaining about this horrid taste..FINALLY my oral surgeon probed the area around one implant and found a fistula. He treated me with antibiotic for a week then brought me back and opened the gum area along side of the implant and cleaned that out leaving the implant intact. The very next day my taste was back to normal again.
    What a relief after months of complaining!!!

  15. During the process of having an implant I developed Burning Mouth Syndrome. Have had it for over a year. Anyone have a similar story?

  16. To the people who have implants:
    I had my implant placed in May and last week the healing abutment was put on. I had no problems prior to last week. Now I have a horrible taste in my mouth that won’t go away. I need help. What are your recommendations??

  17. I recently had dental implants and am about to have ceramic teeth attached. I had inplants in June and in July/August developed Atria Fibrillation diagonised by a cardiologist. i can’t help but ponder if the implants are the cause. I am healthy – eat the right foods etc. i would like to know if anyone else has such related experiences

  18. I had two dental implants put in my mouth to support a prosthesis that I need to wear to speak and eat as a result of a partial maxillectomy from angiosarcoma many years ago. When I had the implants put in as soon as the numbing injections wore off I was in a great deal of pain that got worse each day and could not be alleviated by strong pain medication. The implants had to be removed within a few days, as there was inflammation and pus. They cannot be put back in until it is determined if I am allergic to titanium and I cannot find anyone in the NYC area that will do the testing under Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The only person I found wants $1400 just to walk in his door, and testing is extra, and does not accept any insurance. I found an allergist that said he would do it and send it out to Melisa Labs, but after getting his order for the blood draw found local labs won’t draw my blood to send to Melisa. I am in Westchester County in NY and could go to NYC, northern NJ or southern Ct. I need to have the test results before 2/25 when I go back for my dental consult. What do you advise?

  19. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe Toby Greene does not have the money to just ‘pay for it and get it done’? Not all of us are fortunate enough to be well-off dentists. Some people seem to be out of touch with reality….

  20. Toby,

    I’m from the NY area. I had my oral surgeon write me a scrip to have my blood drawn. They gave me the tubes to send to Melisa myself (easier that way). You can call Melisa Diagnostics at 1-800-650-7850. Speak to Fiona. She will walk you through everything. They will send you an invoice with the proper codes for insurance reimbursement. It is a medical problem and should be covered. It should cost no more than $500 unless you want the comprehensive dental panel ($700). Sharon
    ****************************

  21. Jean and Toby, To me it does not sound like an allergic problem but the implants may be close to the nerve. You may still need the test to r/o this issue. You may want to try treatment at a dental school. If there is a will there is a way.

  22. I had an implant in December 08. Since that time I have had this awful taste in my mouth plus a general sick feeling. Heaviness in both legs, pain in my joints and an overall feeling of fatigue. Does anyone have any of these symptoms. Would appreciate your comments.
    Sherrie Robinson
    email: Rodneythekid@att.net
    Thanks

  23. I had 2 lower dental implants inserted about 5 months ago and am getting ready to have the permanent crowns inserted. However, during the last 2 months I have developed a red bumpy rash around my nostrils. I have an allergy to nickel and zinc but never thought to mention it to the implant dentist or prosthodontist, not did they ask. Could the rash be a result of the implants afterthis many months? How should I proceed? Any advice is appreciated.

  24. I had full zygomatic implants placed in 2006. At first it was just a rash around my mouth but then is spread all over my face, leaving me with scaring. The rash has spread all over my body and the itching is insane. None of the Dr’s seem to think this is in any relation to the implants, nor did the DR’s offer a metal test prior to the implants. I believe that even though the risk of an allergic reaction may be very small the the manufactures should advise the Dr’s to have a metal test done on all of their patients prior to placing metal into the body. As well as find them the proper prothetics to use for that patient. Shame on the manufactures and sales reps for not informing these Dr’s and that patients have to suffer with the ongoing side effects.

  25. there are only a few dental implants that are pure titanium. the rest are titanium alloys – vananium and aluminum!! i am looking retrospectively at failures in my practice to see if there is a correlation to sensitivity to aluminum chloride in deoderant in my failure group.

  26. I had an implant put in 2 months ago.
    Ended up with joint pain and severe indigestion.
    Was checked for silent reflux.
    Finally was able to send blood to Melisa and get
    a work up done. Call Fiona at Melisa labs(check internet for info). They will send you all the info
    you need. Not cheap but you will have the best evaluation possible. Have blood drawn at local hospital.
    Mine shows slight allergy to Calcium Titanate.
    Has anyone ever had this reaction to titanium? I must decide now to extract implant or move forward. Any advice from experience, would be very helpful.
    Maryann

  27. Hi friends,
    Can anybody comment on “Failed implant treatment presents a significant clinical, psycho-social and financial challenge to the patient”

    Response will be appreciated,

    Regards,

    Dan

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