Is There Risk of Corrosion With Dental Implants?


Any time you insert a foreign object in your body, you are putting yourself at risk for rejection. The difference with titanium implants is the years of study and research put behind finding the best material for making surgical repairs when restorations are needed. At Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery, we take the time to create a precise treatment plan that is customized to each of our patients. This plan will include taking into consideration each patients, oral health, medical health, bone needs and how we can improve their function. Our goal is to know the results before the end, by making predictions, we hope to eliminate any future problems.

The modern research and study of dental implants began more than a hundred years ago. The study began with scientists and doctors researching various metals for implantation in the human body. The investigated metals including copper, aluminum, iron, zinc, carbon steel, silver, nickel, and magnesium. With each trial, these metals mentioned above were eliminated as a candidate; they were too reactive in the body for long-term implantation.

After eliminating other metals, stainless steel was introduced as a possible material for surgical use. It was much more corrosion resistant and quickly became the material of choice in surgical applications in the early 1900’s. When it was found to also have corrosive properties, they reduced the carbon to .08% and then to .03%, greatly reducing the effects of corrosion including pitting. The reduced amount of carbon increased the strength of the steel and made it less corrodible.

Dental implant studies done by Dr. Brånemark when he placed his first titanium dental implant in a human volunteer in the 1960’s, found titanium to be the metal of choice for long-term use with dental implants. Titanium provided ideal strength and the corrosion resistance characteristics needed due to the significant bodily fluids that the device is in contact with. Titanium has been tested as it relates to constant contact with the patient's bodily fluids and complex organic compounds, including water, calcium, sodium, chloride, bicarbonate, potassium, magnesium, phosphate, amino acids, proteins, plasma and saliva, which includes bacteria and sugar.


Numerous methods have been used to evaluate the corrosion resistance of titanium implant materials both in the laboratory and through long-term studies. The results are highly favorable. There have been very limited negative reactions from patients with titanium dental implants. Studies support that only patients who have a deep hypersensitivity to metal have found implants to be problematic.

Am I Experiencing a Reaction to Titanium?


Patients who are experiencing an allergic reaction to titanium may show symptoms of redness, development of rash, eczema, edema, or severe itching of the skin. In very rare cases, allergic reactions have presented with more serious symptoms including impaired healing, pain, necrosis or death of cells around the implant. There reactions and symptoms are atypical. We will look for these reactions and other reactions such as a failure of implantation during your follow-up appointments.

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