Will You Need New Fillings Before You Can Receive A Dental Implant?

Before a dental implant can be placed, the implantation site must be suitable. If there are any shortcomings, the site must be made suitable. For example, if the bone directly beneath the empty dental socket has lost density (which is a natural response when a tooth has been absent for some time), it must be restored with bone grafting. If your teeth have become crooked, making it difficult to physically fit the implant in the empty dental socket, you may need orthodontic work to create the proper space. But what about any fillings in your mouth? Can they create complications for your dental implant procedure? This depends on which materials the fillings are made of. 

Types of Fillings 

Composite resin (tooth-colored) fillings won't have any effect on a dental implant or the prosthetic tooth attached to the implant. Metal amalgam fillings may have an impact, but this is by no means certain either. So how can metal amalgam dental fillings pose a risk to your new dental implant?

Low Risk

It must be pointed out that any risk is extremely low, and is only possible when your implant is made of metal (titanium alloy), which the majority are. If you're to receive a ceramic implant, the reaction that may endanger your dental implant is not possible. But what exactly is this reaction?

A Corrosive Reaction

The electrolytes in your saliva can lead to a reaction between the titanium alloy of your implant, and your metal amalgam (mercury) filling. The current that's created (which you're unable to feel) can cause the titanium alloy of your implant to corrode. This can only happen in certain circumstances.

Exposed Metal

The entire titanium alloy screw of your implant will be placed in your jaw. Your gum tissues then heal around it, before the implant's prosthetic tooth is attached. The implant should be completely buried. However, gum recession, along with a range of periodontal diseases, can cause a tiny amount of the implant's metal to be exposed. This exposure can only be microscopic, and may not even be visible (at least, not at first). Any corrosion to a dental implant can lead to implant failure, so must be avoided.

Removal and Replacement

As a precautionary measure, your dentist may decide to remove your metal amalgam fillings before your dental implant surgery. They will be replaced with composite resin fillings. This won't be necessary in all cases but can be wise if the metal amalgam fillings are old (which they're likely to be, as these fillings are no longer widely-used). 

If it's decided that your metal amalgam fillings must be replaced before you can receive a dental implant, it won't be too inconvenient. It will only require an additional visit to your dentist before your implant surgery can take place.