Since this question is often asked by a lot of patients, and since a google search with the key words “dental implant rejection” will come up with lots of articles, I feel that is important that we write a little about this topic, or rather, about this lack of a topic. It may be a spoiler alert, but there is absolutely no such thing as dental implant rejection. It may not make much sense and go against your intuition, but that is the case. We have compiled a little Q&A to help and explain why it is that the human body, which will become inflamed from a grain of sand, does not want to purge a titanium screw.
Can a dental implant be rejected by the host body?
No. Never. Not under any circumstances. If your dental implant is moving, fell out or is inflamed or is coming out, then you are experiencing some kind of peri-implantitis, or have been implanted improperly. You may have contracted a bacterial infection during the implantation process, or may have contracted some kind of infection, or may have had an invisible periodontal infection before the implantation that rose to the occasion and mess up your gums.
Why is it that there is no rejection? Any other artificial body part can get rejected, so what is so special about dental implants?
Dental implants are made out of titanium, one of the only materials that is not organic and will not be rejected by the body outright. Why this is the case is not entirely understood, as rejection and immune responses are only partially understood. But we do know that contrary to most materials, titanium is a metal that does not elicit a response from the immune system. Titanium alloys contain trace amounts of other elements, and are also never rejected.
Why is my dental implant moving?
When a dental implant is inserted initially, it is of the utmost importance that the dental implant be lodged firmly into the jawbone. If this does not happen, then there can be minor, almost completely invisible microfissures or pockets of air between the dental implant and the periodontium. These may not even be felt at first, but they will give the dental implant an ever so little amount of wiggle room, and since titanium is harder than bones, it will eventually start to erode the jawbone.