Metal allergies can bring about health hazards also for patients in dentistry. What materials trigger it, what are the symptoms, and, most importantly, what can be done to prevent it? Read our article to find out.
According to the latest statistics, 30 to 40 per cent of the world’s population is suffering from some kind of allergy. It is an excessive reaction of the body to certain substances called allergens, which normally would not provoke any symptoms.
Along with all other types of allergies, allergic reactions during dental treatments are becoming more frequent. These can be grouped into two types, based on the immediacy of their occurrence. Immediate reactions during a dental session are mostly caused by medicines or tests, while delayed reactions are generally induced by metals, used for dental implantation or fillings.
Metals – The Main Culprits of Allergic Reactions in Dentistry
In common cases metal allergy is caused by jewellery, metal belt buckles or piercings, resulting in mild rashes on the skin. But when a dental implant or filling contains metals, they can cause serious harm for those allergic to them. The reason for that is the fact that these metals release their ions continuously, which get to the blood stream, and affect the overall health of the patient. Different types of metals present in the mouth increase the possibility of such occurrences. For instance, amalgam and precious metals, like gold have different potentials, which catalyses the release of ions, provoking serious allergic reactions.
Nevertheless, the presence of a single type of metal can cause equally disturbing symptoms. The most widely used metals with allergic potential in dentistry are nickel, chrome, cobalt, palladium, silver, gold and copper. Similarly, amalgam and mercury can also provoke delayed allergic reactions; however, they are rarely used in dentistry, mostly because of their disadvantages. In extreme cases, even modern light curing filling materials and high-tech titanium can bring about allergies.
Symptoms of Metal Allergy
Allergic reactions after a dental treatment can come forward in a form of varying symptoms. These can be dryness of the mouth and lips, wounds and ulcers in the mouth, stinging sensation, or the presence of a sour, metallic flavour. Mild symptoms can be the swelling and bleeding of gums, or a tingling tongue. Due to the ever present inflammation, untreated metal allergies can induce serious health issues, such as stomach pains, intestinal problems, fever, discomfort, chronic fatigue, hair loss, arthritis or eczema. It is always strongly advised to visit a doctor when experiencing some of these symptoms, even months after the visit to the dentist.
Solutions – Go Metal Free and Test Yourself
When the implant or filling causing the symptoms is removed, problems generally disappear. If metal allergy is proven in case of a patient, the use of metal-free zirconium oxide crowns and bridges can guarantee safe and fully functional results. These look very natural, and cannot cause any kind of allergic reaction.
Prevention can also be a solution for metal allergies. Before placing metals in the mouth during implantation or filling, epicutan or patch tests are recommended to make sure there is no existing allergy against one of the metals to be used.