Ordinarily Dick Van Dyke tweeting about headaches wouldn’t be the source of a half dozen news articles. What made it news is that he blamed his dental implants. Recent concerns over the potential side effects of titanium dental implants have set the internet abuzz with rumors.
Many are concerned that dental implants — specifically titanium dental implants — could cause chronic headaches. Fortunately, there is absolutely no research to back up these claims.
Titanium Safe for Dental Implants
Titanium has been the metal of choice for biomedical uses since the 1950s, and that is not about to change! It is used not just for dental implants, but for everything from joint implants to bone plates, because it is highly biocompatible. The protective oxide film that forms when it is exposed to oxygen protects the metal from the body’s harsh environment, making it resistant to corrosion from bodily fluids.
And what’s more, titanium has the ability to osseointegrate. Osseointegration means that bone essentially heals to the titanium, much the way that bone heals after a fracture. Dental implants essentially become one with your jawbone.
What Could be Causing Headaches?
So if it isn’t the dental implants themselves, what could be causing patients to suffer from headaches after getting dental implants?
One possible culprit could be surgical complications. Getting dental implants, like any surgery, comes with the risk of difficulties. For example, sinus cavity damage could cause facial pain or head pain. Nerve damage is another unfortunate possibility. Nerve-related pain is a very rare complication of surgery, but the best way to reduce your risk is to work with a specialist. Dr. Tina Beck, our board-certified periodontist, places dental implants at Strober Dental. We also utilize a CT Dental Scan, which gives us such precise images that it allows us to perform a “virtual surgery,” before the surgery. Thus your actual procedure is quicker and more precise with a lower risk of complications.
But more likely than surgical complications is simply that patients who suffer from headaches after getting dental implants are dealing with a misaligned bite or TMJ. Tension headaches and even migraines are common symptoms of TMJ, and treatments for TMJ can, in turn, treat headaches.
All said, complications are extremely rare in dental implant surgeries, and even when they do occur, they’re most likely to only affect the implant itself — not you! Infection like peri-implantitis can put your dental implants at risk; keep an eye out for signs like swelling, bleeding, or persistent pain. And if you do find yourself experiencing frequent headaches after receiving dental implants, the best thing you can do is talk to your dentist immediately.