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Metal allergy and dentistry

Once metal allergy is developed it cannot be cured as things stand today. That is why it is so important to inform yourself about the kinds of dental treatments that may involve contact with metal. It is also important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of metal allergy and what can be done to limit the harm and discomfort associated with it.


What are the symptoms of metal allergy?

A metal allergy in the mouth can cause bleeding of the gums, periodontitis and inflammation, and can even contribute to the development of an abscess. This can lead to long, uncomfortable, even painful dental treatments. If you don’t know whether you have a metal allergy or not, you should keep your eyes peeled for the following signs if you got a metal based dental crown:

  •  a burning sensation in the mouth
  •  a tickling feeling on the tongue
  •  chronic dry mouth
  • ulcers on the mucus membranes
  • sudden hair loss
  • skin lesions
  • inflammation and swelling of the periodontium
  • bleeding gums
  • inflammation of the skin around the mouth
  • a sour, metallic taste in the mouth
  • feeling run down coupled with a rise in temperature

If you experience these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, seek the assistance of your dentist immediately, as the metal that is causing the allergic reactions needs to be removed as soon as possible, before the symptoms become more severe. If you know you have a metal allergy, it is a good idea to get an allergy test to see which metal or metals you may be allergic to. This will help your dentist in choosing the right kind of substitute for your dental prosthesis.

Some possible alternatives:

Nickel and beryllium free metal fused to porcelain crown
Nickel and beryllium are the metals which most frequently cause an allergic reaction. The metal base of porcelain fused to metal crowns can be beryllium and nickel free. Usually precious metals are used; palladium, gold, silver and platinum-gold alloys, but sometimes copper can do the trick, too. Precious metals that can be used include alloys of cobalt, chromium, molybdenum, iron, manganese and silica.

Zirconium oxide based crowns

If you decided on getting traditional tooth replacement, zirconium oxide is probably the best choice for a metal allergy. The base contains no metals at all. Besides being completely hypoallergenic, it is aesthetically the most pleasing choice as well.

Unalloyed titanium dental implants

Dental implants are made of unalloyed titanium. The surface of the dental implant becomes coated with titanium-oxide over time, which does not react with our bodily fluids, and is thus hypoallergenic.

Gold or porcelain inlays

Inlays are some of the most aesthetically pleasing and long lasting prostheses on the market today. The damaged part of the tooth is removed, and the replacement is made in the dental lab. Until the inlay is finished a temporary filling will be given, and the final product will be adhered to the tooth. Inlays can be made of gold or porcelain. It is practical to make the inlays out of gold, because gold is malleable, and can easily take the shape of the missing piece of tooth. Although extremely rare, gold can also cause an allergic reaction, and in these cases a porcelain inlay is the only option.

Tooth coloured fillings to replace amalgam

Amalgam is considered to be an outdated material, and can cause metal allergies in certain cases. It is a good idea to get your amalgam fillings changed to white fillings as soon as possible.

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