In the US, estimates of people afflicted by these debilitating health conditions range from 14.7 million to 50 million. It is important to note that the number of people suffering from autoimmune disease is increasing, and the use of medical and dental implants and devices containing metal is likewise increasing.
While numerous health conditions have been related to the presence of metals in the body, scientific research has clearly shown that autoimmune disease can be associated with metals used in dentistry and medicine, including metals in medical and dental implants, devices, and adjuvants (substances added to vaccines such as aluminum and mercury). Several of the autoimmune diseases studied for their relation to metal in medical and dental implants, devices, and adjuvants include the following:
Some metals are recognized as essential to human life and serve important roles within the human body. However, the beneficial effects of trace elements are based on safe and adequate intake levels, with too little resulting in deficiencies and too much resulting in toxicities.
Other metals used as components in medical and dental implants, devices, and adjuvants have no established function in the human body. In addition to aluminum, which is both a neurotoxin and an immune stimulator, these include gold, mercury, nickel, palladium, platinum, silver, and titanium. Mercury is recognized as being toxic to humans even in low doses, and researchers have identified chromium, cobalt, copper, gallium, gold, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, platinum, silver, tin, vanadium, and zinc (among others) as metals of concern due to residential and occupational exposure.
Thus, medical and dental implants and devices placed directly into the human body merit significant consideration when evaluating the impact of metal exposure levels, especially in susceptible populations.
In some genetically susceptible individuals, metals can trigger allergies, and recent studies and reports tend to agree that metal allergies are on the rise. Clinical screening for metal allergy has been recommended, but the importance of patients reporting reactions to metals to their doctors has also been emphasized in the scientific literature.
In addition to reporting any rashes from jewelry, watches, or other metal exposures, it is essential for each patient to recognize the gamut of symptoms that can be related to the presence of a metallic medical or dental implant or device in their body, such as the development of an autoimmune disease. It is also vital for patients to remember that sensitization to metal can develop years after a medical or dental implant or device has been placed and that adverse effects can occur with or without the sign of a rash or eruption on the skin or in the mouth.
Removal of medical and dental implants and devices that contain metal is an obvious course of action when adverse effects occur. Indeed, the scientific literature is abundant with studies and cases of individuals improving or recovering from autoimmune disease usually within a year or two after removal of the offending metal. In addition to metal-containing dental implants and devices, examples of materials containing metal removed include the copper IUD, nickel tubal ligation clips, and titanium screws and skull plates.
Some of health conditions that improved (or from which patients even recovered) after removal of metal medical and dental implants and devices include a variant of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) known as progressive muscular atrophy, autoimmune thyroiditis, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, oral lichen planus, Sjögren’s syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus.