Are Dental Implants Safe if I Have a Metal Allergy?

metal wires in mouth for dental implant blog

I went in to have a crown done a couple months back and apparently I biffed it and put it off too long. My dentist had to do an extraction instead. He said my best bet is to go with a dental implant, and I don’t necessarily disagree. My problem is that I have a metal allergy and I can’t even wear jewelry anymore. My fear is that I’ll react to the dental implant and, by the time I know I have a problem with it, it’ll be too late. I tried to explain this to my dentist, but he brushed me off and told me I’d be fine. I’m still not sure. Is he right or is there some risk involved?

Thank you,


Dear Bailey,

It’s a shame your dentist didn’t spend more time talking to you about this because a little knowledge goes a long way. There’s a good chance you’ll be totally ok with a dental implant, but it’s important to understand the underlying mechanisms before you start treatment.

When most people say they have a metal allergy, they really have a sensitivity to specific metals. With an all-out allergy, you’d go into anaphylactic shock, get hives, or have similar symptoms upon exposure. With a sensitivity, you’ll probably break out in a localized rash- just in the area the metal touched. Obviously, neither is good when you’re talking about something that will be integrated into your body, but it’s a difference worth noting.

The biggest culprit when it comes to metal sensitivities is nickel. It’s found in almost everything these days and a growing number of people have issues with it. It’s such a problem that they’ve enacted rules about using it in jewelry in the UK, but the US hasn’t followed suit yet. For your own sake, you’ll want to visit an allergist who can test you and identify which metals you have a problem with.

When we get into dental implants, those are usually made of a titanium alloy; alloy meaning a mixture of metals. Each manufacturer has its own mix. Some contain nickel and some don’t. Your dentist may already have surmised you have a nickel problem and may be using something he already knows doesn’t cause issues in people with nickel sensitivities. If that’s the case, it would have been nice if he had shared the info with you or explained why he didn’t think it was a problem.

The bottom line, however, is that you do have some kind of sensitivity and you don’t know what it is. Get a definitive answer from an allergist and then take the info you get and give it to your dentist, so he can confirm the materials he plans to use won’t be a problem for you.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist Dr. Steve Sirin. Dr. Sirin restores smiles with a number of solutions, including dental implants.

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