Background: In dentistry, allergic reactions to Ti implants have not been studied, nor considered by professionals. Placing permanent metal dental implants in allergic patients can provoke type IV or I reactions. Several symptoms have been described, from skin rashes and implant failure, to non-specific immune suppression.
Objective: Our objective was to evaluate the presence of titanium allergy by the anamnesis and examination of patients, together with the selective use of cutaneous and epicutaneous testing, in patients treated with or intending to receive dental implants of such material.
Material and methods: Thirty-five subjects out of 1500 implant patients treated and/or examined (2002-2004) were selected for Ti allergy analysis. Sixteen presented allergic symptoms after implant placement or unexplained implant failures [allergy compatible response group (ACRG)], while 19 had a history of other allergies, or were heavily Ti exposed during implant surgeries or had explained implant failures [predisposing factors group (PFG)]. Thirty-five controls were randomly selected (CG) in the Allergy Centre. Cutaneous and epicutaneous tests were carried out.
Results: Nine out of the 1500 patients displayed positive (+) reactions to Ti allergy tests (0.6%): eight in the ACRG (50%), one in the PFG (5.3%)(P=0.009) and zero in the control group. Five positives were unexplained implant failures (five out of eight).
Conclusions: Ti allergy can be detected in dental implant patients, even though its estimated prevalence is low (0.6%). A significantly higher risk of positive allergic reaction was found in patients showing post-op allergy compatible response (ACRG), in which cases allergy tests could be recommended.