Can Dental Implants Cause Cancer

When it comes to cancer, prevention and early detection are key. That’s why it’s important to delve into the relationship between dental implants and oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC). Although dental implants have become a popular option for tooth replacement, concerns have been raised about the potential risks they may pose. In this article, we’ll explore the existing literature to analyze the cases of OSCC and metastasis near dental implants and examine the possible factors involved.

The Multifactorial Nature of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinomas

OSCC is a type of cancer derived from the stratified squamous epithelium of the oral mucosa. It is primarily caused by irreversible changes in the squamous epithelium, often triggered by prolonged exposure to various carcinogens. Some of the risk factors associated with OSCC include tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, viral infections (such as HPV), genetic predisposition, and certain precancerous conditions or potentially malignant disorders [10-12].

Dental Implants and Complications

Dental implants are widely recognized as an effective treatment for tooth loss, with their popularity increasing over recent years. However, along with their benefits, complications associated with dental implants have been reported. While most complications are inflammatory in nature, there have also been cases of malignant lesions in close proximity to dental implants [14]. Although the number of reported cases is still relatively low, it is possible that many cases go undiagnosed or unreported [15]. Therefore, it is crucial to examine these complications and explore the potential risks they may pose.

Examining the Literature

A systematic review of the existing literature was conducted to collect and analyze cases of OSCC, clinical variants, and metastasis near dental implants. The search included electronic databases such as MEDLINE and Google Scholar, adhering to established guidelines for systematic reviews and meta-analyses [15]. The review identified 38 articles reporting a total of 76 cases of malignancies in the peri-implant mucosa. These cases included OSCC, metastasis, and other histopathological variants [5,6,14-41].

Possible Risk Factors

Several risk factors associated with the development of OSCC near dental implants were identified in the reviewed literature. These factors include chronic inflammation, previous OSCC or potentially malignant disorders, and the migration of malignant cells through the peri-implant groove [15,24]. The presence of chronic inflammation, often caused by factors such as poor oral hygiene, trauma, or bacterial infections, can contribute to tumour progression and increase the risk of cancer [4,6,21,52]. Titanium, the material commonly used for dental implants, can trigger an inflammatory response in some individuals, potentially exacerbating the risk [57]. Additionally, the presence of previous OSCC or potentially malignant disorders can increase the likelihood of developing malignancies near dental implants [4,55]. It is speculated that the migration of malignant cells through the peri-implant groove may play a role in the development of OSCC [5,69]. However, further research is needed to fully understand these mechanisms and their relationship with dental implants.


While the development of OSCC near dental implants is rare, the increasing popularity of dental implants necessitates a closer examination of potential complications. It’s important for dental professionals to be aware of the possible risks and take appropriate measures to control risk factors and implement stricter recall protocols [15]. Patients with a history of cancer or potentially malignant disorders should receive thorough evaluation and monitoring. If suspicious lesions appear near dental implants, a biopsy should be performed to rule out OSCC. By understanding the possible risks and actively addressing them, we can ensure the safety and well-being of patients who choose dental implants as a tooth replacement option.

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