Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
January 30, 2017
Are you considering dental implants to replace your missing teeth? Do you already have dental implants in your mouth? If either answer is “Yes”, then you may want to read some important facts I discuss in this article.
Last week I posted an article about implants and inflammation. I discussed some published medical science that showed titanium particles are released from the surfaces of dental titanium implants under specific circumstances. These particles could cause chronic inflammation. In turn, this could result in the loss of the implant and possibly could aggravate other chronic diseases in the body.
So, what should you do if you are planning to have implants placed into your jaw or if you already have implants in your mouth? The following are my thoughts based on facts:
If you want a dental implant…
Dental implants replacing missing teeth have had a high success rate for many years. Titanium-based implants have been used more than any other implant material. They are manufactured internationally and are used throughout the world. In addition to titanium-based implants, there are zirconia-based implants, which are not made of titanium.
If you are considering an implant, your dentist may suggest a titanium-based implant or a zirconia-based implant. There are mechanical and esthetic advantages and disadvantages with both. Here is an article that compares the two.
However, this recent article suggests that there may be an inflammatory response from the zirconia surface like that from the surface of titanium implants. What can you do to provide a healthy environment for a dental implant?
Before having an implant placed in your mouth, you and your dentist must be proactive. Here are four things you should know:
1. If you use tobacco, your risk of implant failure is greatly increased. You should consider quitting smoking as soon as possible to reduce your risk.
2. If you have gum disease, you must have your dentist diagnose your problem and treat it correctly. It is necessary to have treatment to remove this disease before placing an implant. Here’s why:
Patients with existing periodontal disease have a significantly higher risk of developing peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is an infection that can develop around an implant in the jawbone and cause the implant to fail. The bacteria from periodontal disease can cause two harmful effects:
- Corrosion of the implant surface releasing titanium ions (This article explains the immune response that is created in the body from titanium particles.)
- Inflammation and infection in the bone and tissues surrounding the implant (peri-implantitis)
3. You should eat nutrient-dense foods and remove foods from your diet that are inflammatory. Nutrient-dense foods help maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your body as well as your mouth.
4. You must take the time to clean your mouth efficiently. If you allowed bacteria to overgrow around your implants and your teeth, they could increase the risk of gum disease and the loss of the implant.
If you have a dental implant…
As I already discussed, you need to be proactive to keep your implant healthy. You should brush and floss efficiently first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Also, you should eat nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods, which will help prevent chronic inflammation throughout the body.
Let me reemphasize: Periodontal disease can cause peri-implantitis. Periodontal disease is a result of a nutrient-deprived, toxic-loaded body with an abundance of unhealthy bacteria in the mouth.
In addition, I do not recommend antibacterial mouthwashes. These kill microbes indiscriminately in the mouth and can disturb the balance of healthy bacteria. Furthermore, they actually can increase the severity of gum infection by damaging an important digestive process that has been shown to heal gum disease. I wrote an article about the harm of antibacterial mouthwashes.
When it comes time to have a dental cleaning with a hygienist, the dental hygienist should not use an ultrasonic cleaning instrument on the surface of the implant. Also, you should avoid fluoride treatments in the dental office as well as avoid fluoride in toothpastes and in drinking water as much as possible. The reasons: Both the cleaning of an implant with an ultrasonic instrument and the use of fluoride in the mouth have been shown to release titanium ions from the dental implant surface that can get into the tissues attaching to the implant.
Dental implants are a means to replace missing teeth. If you have decided to have your dentist place implants in your mouth, you have choices between titanium-based implants and zirconia-based implants. But, your mouth should be disease free before they are placed. Once implants are in your mouth, you must be proactive to keep them healthy, as I have described in this article.