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Getting a Dental Implant When You Have a Metal Allergy


Getting a Dental Implant When You Have a Metal Allergy

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I have an allergy to mercury, nickel, and cobalt that was determined through an allergist. I can’t wear jewelry, unless it is very expensive and doesn’t contain any of the materials I listed. I can’t wear anything with metal buttons or snaps either, including jeans. Thankfully, leggings have come into fashion because I finally have something comfy to wear. I’ve always taken great care of my teeth and have never even had a cavity. Recently, I was in an accident that led to me losing a tooth. I am devastated. Now I have to figure out what to do. Currently, I am wearing a dental flipper, but I don’t really like it, nor does it completely blend in with the rest of my teeth. As I’ve been looking at tooth replacements, it appears that dental implants are the best way to replace your teeth. However, they are made of metal, so I am not sure that is even possible for me. Is there a non-metal alternative?


Dear Bridgette,

titanium and zirconia dental implants

I am sorry about your accident. It stinks that after all your diligent care with your teeth you are now losing one through no fault of your own.

You are correct that dental implants are the best tooth replacement available. It will be like having a healthy, natural tooth in your mouth. I have some great news for you. In your particular case, you are able to wear both metal as well as non-metal dental implants.  The metal implants are made from titanium. Not only is this not in your list of allergies, it is so biocompatible that there is little chance you would have an allergy to it. I never say impossible because each human body is remarkably unique. However, it has been used for decades in prosthetics, including knee and hip replacements with great success.

A second option is to get a zirconia implant. These are non-metal, but not as widely used. This is not because of any known inferiority in the material. It is more that we do not have any long-term data on using the zirconia implants because they are much newer. I can tell you that zirconia is strong enough to work as an implant and there have been many successful cases.

Either one should give you a great replacement. If you are interested in the zirconia option and have trouble finding a dentist I would look for a metal free dentist or a holistic dentist. However, a word of caution, don’t go just by that. You want to make sure they have advanced post-doctoral training in dental implants. This is an advanced procedure and  a LOT can go wrong. I would not consider dental school enough of a qualification.

This blog is brought to you by Mt. Dora Dentist Dr. Michelle Stillman.