Having metal in one’s mouth is not a normal situation. We’re not really adapted to it, and many of our body’s natural processes can interact with the metals to create less than ideal conditions. One example of this is the way that the electrolytes in our saliva can create an electric current between different types of metal.
Unfortunately, when these currents are created, one metal will be corroded. It will lose volume and strength. This is what happened with the Statue of Liberty, and almost made it collapse because many of the steel girders supporting it had reduced in cross section by 50% or more.
If you have metal fillings or crowns and you get dental implants, your implant could end up being like those steel girders, with corrosion taking their toll on them.
The Galvanic Series and Metal Amalgams
The fact that different metals together in the presence of an acidic solution make electricity was discovered by Luigi Galvani, so it’s named after him: galvanism. As people studied galvanism, they learned that some metals were more likely to be on the positive end of the electrical current (called noble metals), and others on the more negative end (called base metals). When placed together in solution, noble metals remain strong while base metals lose strength. Researchers arranged all the metals in a galvanic series, from the most noble metals at the top to the most base metals at the bottom.
When you look at the galvanic series, you can see that titanium is very high on the series, but there are several that are higher than it. Gold, palladium, and other metals found in noble metal crowns can lead to corrosion of titanium.
Metal amalgam can also be problematic. Although most of the metals in amalgam are base, like copper, tin, and zinc, mercury is a very noble metal, close to silver in its electric potential, so it can also lead to corrosion of titanium.
Adding Dental Implants to a Mouth Full of Metal
Ideally, when you get dental implants, they should be protected from exposure to your saliva. They should be completely covered, partly by your gums and bones, and partly by the dental crown on top of the implant. But if you start to lose gum tissue as a result of receding gums around the implant, having other metals in your mouth could make a difference.
This is just another reason to consider removing metal amalgam and noble metal crowns. In addition to looking less attractive, the potential risk to a dental implant is an additional worry.
If you are looking for a dentist who can remove metal restorations and replace them with more attractive and healthier ceramic alternatives, please call