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.
For the last two decades, the use of dental implants as a method of teeth replacement has seen an exponential growth. The predominant material used for dental implants for the last forty plus years has been titanium and titanium alloys. Both titanium and titanium alloys are metals and with the increase in implant procedures there has been a rise in reports of sensitivity and reactions to such materials.
In the early eighties and in light of the increased reports of metal sensitivity and symptoms in people implanted with metal alloys, the search began for an alternative to metal for dental and orthopedic implants. Various materials were and continue to be tested and evaluated. With regards to dental implantology following in the footsteps of medical orthopedics twenty five years prior, zirconia aka zirconium dioxide is now a reliable and acceptable non-metal material for dental implantation. Zirconia is also used to make metal free crowns and bridges in restorative dentistry and dental laboratories in the United States have reported an exponential rise in the use of zirconia by dentists in the last ten years especially on posterior teeth of bruxers. Today zirconia has emerged as a truly biocompatible and most importantly bio-inert implant material in dentistry. Contrary to popular belief both among many clinicians and the public, zirconia is not a metal and not prone to breakage and fracture. Zirconia is the crystal form of the metal zirconium just like alumina is for aluminum. As a matter of fact if you look at the periodic table of elements in chemistry below, zirconium, aluminum and even titanium are in a group called transition metals (second row and second column in the yellow area), however the titanium used to make implants is used in its metal phase . That means that after extraction from the earth, upon certain specific, highly sophisticated and complex treatment such as Yttria stabilization and transformation protocols such as HIP (Hot Isostatic Press), zirconium is converted into its crystal phase which is non-metal and ceramic. Therefore the ceramic phase of the transitional metal zirconium is zirconia which is also called zirconium dioxide and used to manufacture bio-inert, biocompatible and structurally stable zirconia dental implants.
When it comes to options for tooth replacement patients are increasingly opting for dental implants over the usual dental prostheses such as dentures or conventionally placed bridges. Since implants sit securely in the jaw and look like natural teeth, they offer superior durability and outstanding aesthetics when compared to conventional bridges. However there is an increasing resistance to metals among people and in implant dentistry there is a shift away from metal or metallic based crowns, partials and implants.
There are four major categories of restorations available for tooth replacement:
BONDED DENTAL BRIDGE
Bonded dental bridges use the teeth adjacent to the empty space to help support the missing tooth by using a very thin piece of metal or tooth-colored material to overlay and bond to the back of the adjacent teeth. A tooth replacement or “dummy tooth” is set between these two bonded pieces in order to fill in the empty space. Failure rate is about 25 percent after just five years of use. Furthermore the gap widens because the bone recedes as a result of no longer having a tooth in place. This ultimately results in the weakening of the adjacent teeth which can become loose and eventually fall out.
CANTILEVERED DENTAL BRIDGE
A cantilevered restoration uses the closest tooth next to the empty space to support the missing tooth using the either the back of the neighboring tooth or a full crown to help support the missing tooth. Success rate is higher than with a bonded bridge depending on how much pressure the actual replacement endures due to grinding and normal wear. This method of tooth replacement has fallen out of favor because the supporting tooth gets torqued and fatigued and more often than not eventualy fractures.
CONVENTIONAL DENTAL BRIDGE
Getting fitted for a dental bridge requires shaving down and modifying of the teeth on either side the space where the tooth or teeth are missing. This is done in order to fit a conventional bridge. This is a process that significantly weakens the ground teeth and sets them up for fracture and root canals in the future. Unfortunately conventional dental bridges predictably fail at a range from 20 percent over 3 years to 3 percent over 23 years. With dental implants the dentist does not need to affect the health or longevity of neighboring teeth at all. Once placed, implants are firmly set into the bone making them more natural than dentures or conventional bridges, with none of the shifting that dentures normally display.
SOME PROBLEMS WITH CONVENTIONAL BRIDGES
They are bonded to the adjacent tooth with a glue-like substance, bridges more often become loose and fall out
They cracks and fissure form over time, due to normal wear and tear and become fragile and prone to breakage
Improper fit can lead to either tooth decay or irritation to the surrounding soft tissue around them.
A ceramic dental implant is created from a high performance material (zirconium oxide) that is inserted into the bone to act like a natural tooth root. Zirconium oxide also called zirconia is a crystal phase of zirconium and due to its nonmetallic construction the ceramic dental implant does not interfere with the body’s immune or meridian systems and therefore significantly reduces the potential for rejection. Furthermore ceramic implants do not interact with electromagnetic fields such as those emanating from cell phones, cell phone towers and microwaves. Once inserted into the jaw, the implant integrates directly into the bone to give firm support to the artificial replacement that it is built to hold and should last the lifetime of a patient. Routine maintenance of a dental implant is exactly the same as a person would follow for normal teeth.
HEALTHY PATIENTS PREFER CERAMIC IMPLANTS
Patients who prefer dental implants say that they are more comfortable and provide a more secure fit than fixed bridges or removable dentures. However all implants are not equal and ceramic implants unlike metal implants are made in one piece from the root to the top just like a natural tooth. Therefore ceramic implants do not have joints and do not retain plaque and harbor billions of bacteria like two-piece metal implants. For those who no longer have any natural teeth, ceramic implants can be placed to support and retain dentures and eliminate the embarrassment and discomfort they can cause in social situations when they slip and click. Loose and ill-fitting dentures hamper the everyday pleasure of eating comfortably.
BENEFITS OF CERAMIC DENTAL IMPLANTS:
preserves healthy natural tooth and bone structure
looks and feel like natural teeth
enhances a sense of self-confidence when eating, talking and smiling
no gooey denture adhesives to deal with
no embarrassingly loose dentures
improves quality of speech
no electrical or electromagnetic activity in your mouth
Anyone who is missing one or more of their teeth may be a candidate for implants. If more than a few of the teeth are missing, implants in supporting a crown or bridge can replace those teeth and function as normal teeth without concern for loss of bone and decay. If all or most of the teeth are missing, then implants may be placed to fix in place a full-mouth non-removable set of teeth.
NO SUCH PROBLEMS WITH CERAMIC IMPLANTS
Ceramic dental implants are recommended to patients because:
Chewing is easy with excellent biting pressure provided by implant
When done properly and dilligently cared for, dental Implants are reliable and provide long-standing service, for decades with few, if any complications
Comfortable fit and lifetime durability because they are well secured and integrated with the bone and gums
They remain clean because they do not accumulate plaque and bacteria
They do not generate nor conduct electricity
Considering the overall advantages patients can expect to benefit from as a result of choosing a dental implant, they are better able to enjoy a healthier and greener lifestyle without the restrictions many denture and bridge wearers face. The more secure foundation offered by a dental implant, the better biting pressure becomes, making it possible to enjoy the foods that a patient probably would not be able to eat using a dental prosthetic. As a result improved chewing ability leads to better nutrition and improved overall health.
THE ELECTRIFYING ASPECT OF TITANIUM DENTAL IMPLANTS
It’s unlikely that if you popped a light bulb socket into your mouth that it would light up, but did you realize that your teeth may actually be conducting enough electrical current to short circuit your brain?
Teeth that have been treated, repaired or replaced using any type of metal alloy contain all the necessary ingredients to create an environment akin to a charged battery … in your mouth. Titanium or metal implants are one of the types of dental repairs that can create what is called ‘oral galvanism’ or ‘the battery effect’ in the mouth.
HOW IT WORKS
As it turns out creating a battery is a fairly simple process of immersing two or more different metals into a liquid (in this case, saliva) and they automatically conduct electricity. Saliva acts as and is an excellent ‘electrolyte’, while metal dental implants provide the dissimilar metals to make the magic happen. An electrical current is generated when metal ions from the dental metals are conveyed into saliva. This phenomenon is called “oral galvanism,” which literally means that this unique oral environment acts like a miniature electrical generator producing measurable electric currents in the mouth.
Oral galvanic toxicity, as it is known, creates several major complications to the human body, including:
The action of electrical currents in the mouth increases the rate at which metal implants are corroded, including titanium based dental implants. The ions that are released react with the organs of the body, leading to increased sensitivity, an inclination towards inflammation and potentially autoimmune disorders.
As a person’s sensitivity increases through oral galvanism the likelihood of damage to the soft tissue of the mouth can occur. An increased rate of corrosion increases the chance of developing immunologic or toxic reactions to metals.
The process of oral galvanism also disrupts normal electrical currents flowing into brain tissue and can disrupt the natural electrical current in the brain.
TITANIUM IS NOT BIOCOMPATIBLE
Through the process of oral galvanism titanium implants release metal ions into the mouth and jaw bone constantly. This type of chronic exposure may very likely trigger inflammation, allergies and autoimmune disease in susceptible individuals and slowly weaken the immune system is healthy adults.
With an increase in people receiving titanium dental implants these days, cases of intolerance to these types of oral repairs is on the rise. A recent study that followed 56 patients who developed severe health problems after receiving titanium-based dental implants described medical problems including muscle, joint and nerve pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, neurological problems, depression as well as skin rashes and inflammation.
When intolerance occurs the most logical treatment is to have the metal implant removed and/or replaced with a more biocompatible and bioinert material such as a ceramic implant. Patients who have had metal implants replaced have reduced metal sensitivity overall and report long-term health improvement in the majority of cases.
ORAL GALVANISM AND CERAMIC DENTAL IMPLANTS
Ceramic dental implants have proven to be highly biocompatible to the human body and due to their poor electrical conductivity they do not exhibit ion release (or galvanism) when compared to metallic implants. Studies have shown that the way an implant is integrated into the surrounding bone (osseointegration), whether it is made of ceramic or titanium is very similar. But ceramic implants have a comparable, if not greater rate of performance and durability, making them an excellent alternative to titanium implants.
Considering that titanium dental implants can provoke metal sensitivity, inflammation, autoimmune disorders (among other things), while ceramic dental implants are completely metal-free while providing increased durability and a higher level of aesthetics, there is no logical reason for the average person to consider anything other than a biocompatible alternative; ceramic dental implants.
Be Very Careful When Replacing Teeth http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/08/08/Be-VERY-Careful-When-Replacing-Missing-Teeth.aspx
Z-Systems – For a Healthy Bright Smile http://www.z-systems.biz/en/7349/patients.html
Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, 25: 349–360, 2006
Labome.com — Intraoral electrogalvanism – http://www.labome.org/topics/dentistry/intraoral-electrogalvanism-17918.html
On September 29 and 30, 2012, Dr. Noumbissi and Miles of Smiles Implant Dentistry staff were participants at the Green festival which was held at the Convention Center in Washington DC. Over three hundred people visited our booth and it was indeed a great pleasure for us to be able to educate and inform the general public on the risks of having metals such as titanium and titanium alloys implanted in one’s jaw for tooth/teeth replacement.
We will like to thank all those who visited our both and supported our effort. We are looking forward to see those that will be coming to visit us in the coming weeks.
A new movie available for download and viewing online called ‘Mercury Undercover’ is exposing the abhorrent practices going on at the national level that prevent mainstream Americans from learning the truth about poison contamination from dental amalgam. Mercury Undercover illustrates all the evidence about mercury contamination, and features interviews by doctors, renowned scientists, environmental experts and survivors of mercury poisoning.
The disturbing issues brought to light in this film are geared to alarm viewers just enough to cause them to pause before buying and consuming fish products and to take into consideration the potential ramifications of their next dental procedure.
A few points brought up by this movie include:
The Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suggested thirteen years ago that dental amalgams could account for up to 75 percent of a person’s daily mercury exposure. There is approximately 1,000 mg of mercury in the typical silver amalgam filling, nearly one million times more mercury than is present in contaminated sea food.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that between 3-17 micrograms of mercury are released daily into the body by stimulating the filling through chewing, brushing and grinding, compared to only 2-5 micrograms from fish and all other environmental sources combined. An editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine also stated that dental amalgams were “possibly the chief source of exposure [to mercury] of a large segment of the U.S. population”. As shocking as it is, Americans and Europeans actually have more mercury in their mouths than exists in all manmade products combined – estimated at more than 1,000 tons. More than 180 million Americans of all ages host a total of 1.46 billion restored teeth, and the vast majority of those restorations are silver amalgams containing mercury. This measures out to about 75 percent of adults being exposed daily through silver amalgam fillings.
The 2nd largest mercury polluters in the U.S. are dental practices. As a result of their continued use of mercury amalgam fillings, another 29.7 tons of mercury is discharged into the air, water and soil each year from installation and removal of amalgams. Mercury coming from dental offices is reported to be the largest source of mercury found in wastewater today. According to an article authored by Michael Bender (co-founder of the Mercury Policy Project), at least 40 percent of mercury streaming into public water treatment plants starts out in the dental office. And wastewater treatment plants are not set up to remove mercury, so it ends up in waterways and oceans where it contaminates marine life before cycling back into the food chain and ending up on your dinner plate. Ultimately, when you consider the costs associated with environmental cleanup dental amalgams are actually the most costly type of dental fillings on the market – in terms of environmental damage and harm to living organisms, including humans.
And a point of our own:
Amalgams found in cadavers also post a risk to the environment. Emissions from the combustion of mercury fillings during the cremation process act as a major contaminator of air, waterways, soil, wildlife and food.
No less than 7-9 metric tons of mercury seeps into the atmosphere annually during the cremation process. As a result, it is expected that by the year 2020 the cremation of human remains will be the largest single cause of mercury pollution. And, it all started in the dental office.
MERCURY AMALGAMS ARE NOT AS CHEAP AS DENTISTS WOULD LIKE YOU TO THINK
Amalgam fillings contain more mercury than any other product sold in America. And they are highly profitable to a dentist, which explains why it is so difficult to get them to use healthier composite products. Dentists can install amalgam fillings much faster than many composite fillings, and once installed they keep the patient coming back for repairs (due to the damaging effects of metal fillings on the structure of the tooth).
The average “amalgam” filling is typically a mixture of silver, copper, tin and zinc with an equal amount of mercury (up to 50 percent mercury). Fillings naturally deteriorate over time, leaching the various metal components into the body in the process and they react to substances such as acid in the mouth, causing the filling to deteriorate even more rapidly. The deteriorating vapor then enters the body and is subsequently inhaled into the lungs where it is absorbed into the blood stream. Likewise, as we eat, mercury is incorporated into food, is then swallowed and digested and absorbed into the bloodstream where it is distributed to more vulnerable tissues and organs. Mercury vapors readily pass through cell membranes, across the blood-brain barrier and into the central nervous system, where it causes psychological, neurological, and immunological problems. Children and fetuses, whose brains are still developing, are most at risk, but virtually anyone exposed to mercury in this way is at risk.
Aspiring dentists continue to be taught that the mercury in amalgams is “bound” with the other metals and therefore doesn’t leak, which is why 50 percent of them continue to believe mercury amalgam use is safe. However, by the fact that mercury vapor can be measured at all as it seeps away from the tip of the root is absolute proof that amalgam fillings can and do leach mercury poisons into the body.
STRIVING FOR CHANGE
The Mercury Undercover website suggests specific goals and objectives that need to be addressed to stop silver mercury amalgam use in America:
Disclose mercury and end the “silver deception”; stop the ADA/dental board gag rule Inform consumers and dentists of the massive environmental harm caused by amalgam Make dentists (preferably those who perpetuate the use of mercury laced amalgams) pay for the massive harm to the environment; this would make the amalgam cost-prohibitive
Ban amalgam for children and pregnant women Introduce ART (Atraumatic restorative treatment), a safe, low-cost dental filling material that requires only hand instruments to install, and can even be done by a dental hygienist
End amalgam primacy in insurance plans
All of these points are excellent suggestions and honorable objectives. If you would like to help, The Consumers for Dental Choice has launched a worldwide Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry which outlines specific actions you can take on local, state, and national levels. Just visit their website to get started. They also suggest:
If you are not already seeing a mercury-free dentist, ask your dentist to switch to mercury-free dentistry.
If you work for a company that covers dental fillings, ask if they will cover composites or ART or other alternatives to amalgam.
If you know your Mayor or a member of your City or Town Council, consider asking if they will do what some California cities are doing: pass a resolution calling for an end to amalgam and a request that dentists in your town stop using amalgam.
And, write the Director of FDA’s Center for Devices, Jeff Shuren, email@example.com Ask Dr Shuren why FDA continues to ignore the scientists and covers up the mercury from American parents and consumers. Ask when FDA is going to get in step with the world on mercury.