Your Body’s Struggle With Titanium

Your Body’s Struggle With Titanium

Your Grandpa’s Implant Material

Your Body’s Struggle With Titanium | Sammy Noumbissi DDS

It seems more and more people are becoming aware of and concerned with the myriad chemicals, compounds, and materials that are going into their bodies.  It’s a legitimate concern indeed, as new substances seem to be finding their way into our food, medicine and overall environment at an increasingly rapid rate.  With all of these new molecules popping up for us to check out, it can be easy to take for granted that the materials we’ve already been using for generations are inherently safe.  As we’ve seen in the cases of mercury, lead and asbestos, that is certainly not always the case; toxic materials can sleep through the cracks of public awareness and remain in use for very long periods of time.

Thankfully, there are no doctors to my knowledge that are placing asbestos dental implants.  There are different materials being used in the dental implant industry today, however, and it is extremely prudent to be aware of the potential risks involved with any material that is being permanently inserted into your body.

As with many biological prosthetics, titanium has been the primary material of choice for dental implants placed around the world for many years.  It was seen as an ideal choice due to its light weight and durability.  It is relatively less difficult to integrate with the body than a lot of other metals, and under normal environmental circumstances it was believed to be practically impervious to corrosion.

What We Know Now

It turns out, however, that titanium is susceptible to corrosion as a result of contact with saliva and other bodily fluids.  Corrosion can also occur in dental implants as a result of stress caused by bite forces.  There is a possibility that the same bacteria-borne acids that cause tooth decay may also have the potential to corrode titanium implants over time, though further research of this issue is still needed.

As titanium corrodes it creates an electromechanical disturbance in the body, causing pain and discomfort.  Ultimately it can lead to the body rejecting the implant all together.  The broken down titanium can cause metal toxication as it seeps into the soft tissue, blood stream, and even the bone.  Symptoms include irritation and burning sensation in the soft tissue, pharyngeal swelling, labored breathing, narrowed larynx and abdominal pain.  In addition, titanium oxide nano particles have been shown to induce emphysema and lung redness in adult mice.

The surface of the remaining metal structure becomes more abrasive as it breaks down, which can contribute to bone loss and can also be a factor in soft tissue irritation.  Compared with a superior implant material like zirconia, titanium has an especially difficult time bonding with your gum tissue.

Allergic sensitivity to titanium is also a concern.  Studies have shown that 20% – 25% of the population has some kind of metal allergy, and titanium allergies specifically are believed to occur in 4% – 10% of all people.  Symptoms include oral ulcers, hyperplastic gingivits, oral dryness and loss of taste.

The Newer, Better Implant Material

Ceramic dental implants made of zirconia have many positive attributes that stand on their own merits.  It is definitely worth noting, however, that none of the risks listed here regarding titanium are a significant factor with zirconia implants.  It is a bio-compatible, nontoxic material that is not a known allergen.  In fact, patients who had their titanium implants replaced with ceramic ones due to their titanium allergy have experienced full-mouth rehabilitation from their allergy symptoms.  It’s no wonder why Dr. Noumbissi has been placing ceramic dental implants in his patients for so many years.  The real question is, why isn’t everyone else?

Things To Consider About Dental Implants

Why Get Implants at All?

There are a number of options out there for tooth restoration and replacement.  Is an implant really worth the expense and the surgical placement procedure?  Actually, you may be surprised at how much trouble can be averted by filling that oral vacancy with a dental implant.

Longevity is something else you should look at in deciding on your tooth restoration.  Even well maintained bridges and crowns typically need to be replaced every ten years or so.  Plus a natural tooth that acts as a post for a crown is very susceptible to additional decay, making more extensive treatment a likely eventuality.

Perhaps you’re a minimalist.  You still have plenty of good teeth left to chew with.  Why not just have your problem tooth pulled and carry on with the rest of your life?  Before deciding on that course of action, you should understand that empty tooth sockets are an ideal environment to harbor infection.  In addition the vacancy in your jaw where the tooth was anchored can be a catalyst for bone deterioration and muscle atrophy.  This leads to additional dental and orthodontic complications as well as sagging of the facial features.

One obvious benefit on dental implants is the practical functionality that is unmatched by other form of dental prosthesis.  You can eat, kiss and play the kazoo just the same as you did with all of your natural pearly-whites.  You don’t have to take them in and out, and there are no new daily maintenance or cleaning regimens to learn.

Concerns Related to Dental Implants

Despite the many virtues of getting dental implants, it is not a procedure to be undergone without proper consideration.  There are a number of factors to evaluate when deciding what kind of implant to get, or whether it is a good option for you at all.

The primary concern is that of integration with bone and soft tissue.  The act of bonding with the bone is called osseointegration.  While the vast majority of dental implants osseointegrate successfully, failed osseointegration can lead to the implant failing or coming out.  Integration with the gum tissue is a more common complication.

Dental implants have traditionally been comprised of a porcelain crown that sits atop a titanium abutment.  The micro gap that exists between these two pieces can be a source of inflammation to the gums.  Furthermore, the porous nature of porcelain and the rough texture of titanium make both materials ideal for plaque to glom on to.  There is also evidence that the titanium abutments begin to break down overtime, depositing trace amounts of the metal into your jaw bone.  People who are sensitive to the metal are vulnerable to additional complications.

Then there is the issue of aesthetic appeal.  As mentioned, porcelain is a porous material.  As such it stains rather easily.  It is also fairly common for the metallic grey of the titanium to show through the porcelain or even the gum tissue.

Lastly we have the matter of strength.  An implant that is too weak has obvious drawbacks; keeping your implant intact is clearly ideal.  While it’s important for an implant to be strong, it is also essential that it not be too hard.  Porcelain is very capable of causing wear and abrasion to the natural tooth that opposes the implant.

Why Zirconia is the Implant Material of the Future

The vast majority of implants placed by Dr. Noumbissi are comprised of a single piece of zirconia ceramic.  Zirconia is a much stronger material than porcelain and nearly as strong as titanium.  At the same time, zirconia implants are less abrasive to the natural teeth that they bite against than porcelain is.

The solid piece of tooth-colored zirconia is much more natural looking than the grey titanium abutments.  It isn’t a porous material like porcelain is, which means it is not only stronger, but far less susceptible to staining.  An added bonus is that the texture of zirconia makes it a much more difficult surface for plaque to adhere to than titanium and porcelain are.

When zirconia implants first came into the market, the primary concern was with osseointegration.  Thankfully, new implant technology has made the successful osseointegration of zirconia implants every bit as probable as that of titanium.

Gums attach better to zirconium than to porcelain or titanium, and the gum tissue tends to remain healthier over time.  This is due in part to the lack of a micro gap in the the one piece design, but zirconia is simply a more bio-compatible material.  You don’t have to worry about metal seeping into your body.  Allergies and adverse reactions are much less common also.

Dental implants are a revolutionary technology that has only been available for a few generations.  An implant can do wonders for your self image as well as your overall health.  It is a major decision however; we’re talking about something that will be a permanent part of you. Thoroughly researching the doctor you use and the materials that go into your body is the most essential step toward ensuring that your implant is successful and effective.

Sports And Energy Drinks Can Damage Tooth Enamel

Scientific studies are now revealing the full extent of damage a person can inadvertently cause to their tooth enamel by consuming highly acidic beverages. With a reported 30- 50 percent of U.S. teenagers consuming popularized energy drinks on a daily basis, it is important that parents and young adults as well as fitness enthusiasts, understand the disadvantages these drinks can pose to oral health.

A recent study cited in General Dentistry; the Academy of General Dentistry’s clinical, peer-reviewed journal has revealed that fitness-minded adults and adolescents who routinely consume sports and energy drinks have an alarming increase in irreversible damage to teeth, damage that specifically targets the tooth enamel; the thin, outer layer of the tooth that helps preserve the tooth’s structure and prevent decay. Damage caused to sensitive tooth enamel is almost always irreversible, and without the protection of enamel, teeth become highly sensitive, prone to cavities, and more prone to decay.


People who pursue active lifestyles ironically may avoid colas or sugary drinks in favor of what they believe to be a ‘healthier’ alternative and so they tend to rely on sports or energy drinks to rehydrate after exercising. But, with the results of recent studies pointing to the fact that regular long-term use of such highly acidic beverages can lead to irreversible damage to dental enamel, athletic types are best advised to take precautions to protect their teeth by either choosing an alternative or adopting a habit of rinsing after consuming acidic drinks.

To determine the true acidic properties researchers examined the levels of acid in 13 sports drinks and nine energy drinks. To test the effect of the acidity levels, samples of human tooth enamel were immersed in each beverage for 15 minutes, followed by immersion in artificial saliva for two hours. The test was repeated over five days, four times each day. The goal of the test was to simulate the same type of exposure teeth are subject to by someone who drinks an average of one beverage every few hours. The researchers found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days, and energy drinks in particular showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sports drinks – in fact, up to twice as much damage.

From this test and others of a similar type we can now conclude that enamel damage associated with all beverages ranging from greatest (1) to least (6) damage to dental enamel are as follows:

  1.  lemonade
  2. energy drinks
  3. sports drinks
  4. fitness water
  5. iced tea
  6. cola

Most cola-based drinks contain more than one type of acid, generally phosphoric and citric acids, both of which contribute to enamel damage. Sports beverages contain a range of other additives and organic acids that further exacerbate dental erosion. Organic acids also erode dental enamel as they break down calcium, which is needed to strengthen teeth and prevent gum disease.


The best way to avoid damaging your dental enamel is to exercise caution when using sports drinks and similar beverages on a routine basis. Alternating sports drinks with water or low-fat milk after a workout can help to preserve tooth enamel and ultimately protect teeth from decay, but the best alternative is to minimize the intake of sports and energy drinks altogether. If you must drink acidic beverages it is advisable to chew sugar-free gum or rinse the mouth with water following consumption of the drinks as a way to increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to normalize acidity levels in the mouth. To avoid spreading acid onto the tooth surfaces thereby increasing the erosive action, it is a good idea to wait at least an hour before brushing after consuming sports and energy drinks.

Use Tooth Whiteners With Caution

In today’s cosmetically conscious world practically everyone wants a whiter smile, and no one is immune to the countless advertisements touting over the counter teeth whiteners. So, what causes teeth to lose their luster in the first place? As it turns out, tobacco, coffee, tea, alcohol, food coloring and other additives, as well as natural aging are all culprits. In dentistry, tooth whitening is a cosmetic treatment that can provide patients with satisfyingly white smiles, but have you ever stopped to think about the chemicals that are involved in the whitening process?


As long ago as ancient Egyptian and Roman times people were concerned about having a whiter smile, and they were diligent in recording their teeth whitening efforts. Records surviving from the Egyptian era show that people back then mixed a paste of pumice stone and vinegar counting on the abrasion from the pumice and acid of the vinegar to remove tooth stains. Somewhat unappetizingly, Romans found that urine – nature’s most perfect source of ammonia – helped to whiten teeth, a fact borne out in recent times that clearly demonstrate that diluted ammonia actually does have cleaning and brightening properties.

During the 17th and 18th centuries the pursuit of whiter teeth took a more barbaric turn when Europeans consulted their barbers, who ground down their teeth and then applied an acid solution to remove stains. Historical records show that Benjamin Franklin used a combination of honey and ground charcoal to clean his teeth and to keep them white – and ironically, today people are turning to activated charcoal to balance oral pH, to prevent cavities and kill harmful bacteria known to cause tooth decay and gingivitis. It is also being recognized as a fairly dynamic way to whiten teeth.


Today the teeth whitening process can take hours, and during that time, teeth and gums soak in chemically based tooth whiteners — and as a result you may end up ingesting a plethora of toxins. Home whitening kits indicate that the product may irritate gums, and they point out the risk of using the bleaching agent incorrectly, but there is very little warning about the chemicals that you are absorbing into your system as you wait for your teeth to whiten. Toxic chemicals can leak from the trays containing the whitening gel onto surrounding areas inside the mouth, and an alarming amount can be swallowed. At the very least, bleaching agents can cause damage to the nerves of the teeth leading to heightened sensitivity.


Over the counter teeth whitening kits and toothpaste are filled with potentially toxic chemicals that are potentially harmful to a person’s health and teeth, potentially causing acute tooth sensitivity and oral sores. The most common ingredient is hydrogen peroxide which is usually broken down by saliva, however studies show that at least 25 percent is swallowed, releasing free radicals into the body creating an assault on the immune system and potentially causing harm to sensitive organs and systems of the body.

Additional ingredients found in some whitening products along with their most potentially adverse characteristics can include:

  • Coal tars: Severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, lack of concentration, nervousness, increased risk of Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Found in bubble bath, hair dye, dandruff shampoo, toothpaste and foods.
  • Fluorides: May contain lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. Accumulates in body and contributes to bone disease. Potentially carcinogenic.
  • Aspartame: Genetically Modified, synthetic sugar substitute. People report dizziness, headaches and even seizures. Scientists believe it can alter behavior due to altered brain function. Long term effects of this genetically modified organism on human health has not been studied or tested.
  • Aluminum: Heavy concentrations may be linked to Alzheimer’s dementia. Aluminum is in many antiperspirants and prevalent in water supplies. Some processed foods contain dietary aluminum.
  • Benzene: Inhalation of high levels can cause headaches, rapid heart rate, tremors, confusion, unconsciousness and death. Hodgkin’s and Lymphomas result from inhalation. Used in detergents, drugs, pesticides and adhesives.


Today we recommend a safer, more holistic way to whiten teeth by employing Ozone Treatments. Ozone is generally applied in holistic and natural dentistry and used where it is needed to kill germs, bacteria, fungi and viruses. It is effective within minutes and leaves no side effects. The added benefit of ozone treatment is that it has a bleaching effect on the teeth, it’s safe and nothing toxic is ingested in the process.


List of the More Widely Known Dangerous Ingredients in Body & Food Products
Swallowing chemicals from teeth whiteners is common and very dangerous

The Aesthetics Of Ceramic Dental Implants


With the alarming number of Americans who suffer some form tooth loss every year, ceramic dental implants represent the most important and aesthetically pleasing option available today for tooth replacement. We find that the newest form of ceramic implants is comfortable for our patients, and due to their all-white color they are highly attractive in appearance. Dental implants are a sensible alternative to bridges, partials or dentures and most importantly; ceramic dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, so much so that you might forget that you ever lost a tooth.


A dental implant is created from a high performance material called zirconium oxide that is inserted into the jaw bone to act like a natural tooth-root. Due to its nonmetallic construction the ceramic dental implant does not interfere with the body’s immune or meridian systems and therefore does not create a potential for rejection. Once anchored into the jaw, the implant integrates directly into the bone to give firm support to the artificial replacement that it is built to hold.


When it comes to options for tooth replacement patients are increasingly choosing dental implants over more conventional dental prostheses. Not only does and implant sit securely in the jaw and look like natural teeth, they also offer superior durability and outstanding aesthetics. Implants of a variety of materials have been used successfully for about 40 years and the latest generation of ceramic implant systems made of zirconium oxide takes the science of dental implants to the next level. Ceramic implants also present almost no danger of corrosion, something that is often a serious problem with metal based dental implants.

With a ceramic dental implant it is possible for patients to enjoy the most natural form of firmly anchored teeth, without having to resort to the inconvenience and embarrassment of dentures. In addition, the ceramic implant creates a beautiful restoration that is extremely stable and strong, able to withstand even the most intense chewing demands.

The material known as zirconium oxide comes from the mineral zircon, which possesses all the advantages that earlier forms of ceramics had to offer, plus it is able to sustain an extreme load capacity, features a very long service life, and presents no conductivity or interference in the body’s meridian systems. We value it for its striking resemblance to natural teeth which offers an aesthetically perfect final result for our patients.


  • naturally replace the missing teeth without affecting/grinding the surrounding teeth
  • no electrical currents between the titanium implant and the crown on the implant
  • there is no ion release to your mouth and body
  • no corrosion of the implant
  • looks and feel like natural teeth
  • increases self-confidence when eating, talking and smiling
  • no gooey denture adhesives or embarrassing loose dentures
  • improves speech
  • perfect comfort and fit

Ultimately, not worrying about your dentures falling out of your mouth when you are speaking or eating offers a freedom that simply makes sense. The more naturally stable foundation offered by a dental implant certainly improves biting pressure, making it possible to enjoy the foods that you probably would not be able to using a dental prosthetic. With improved chewing ability you are also likely to have a better diet and therefore improved overall healthfulness.

A ceramic dental implant restoration is now more convenient and clearly a healthier alternative to metal implants. To learn more about ceramic dental implants and other services we offer, or to schedule an evaluation give us a call at 301-588-0768 or Request an Implant Evaluation by Clicking Here.

Front Tooth Replacement With A Zirconia Dental Implant

This is a case where the patient lost a front tooth a few years before. As time went by the patient realized that wearing a removable partial denture also called “flipper” was very uncomfortable and affected the ability to socialize with confidence. Dental implants had been contemplated for a long time but there was an objection to titanium dental implants which are metal. Also a history of allergy to various metals was of concern. As a result the only option for non-removable metal free tooth replacement was a zirconia dental implant. The implant was placed and immediately oufitted with a temporary crown and within an hour the patient left the office with a fixed metal free tooth.