Almost 18 months ago, my dentist did upper and lower partial dentures for me. Since then, my mouth and tongue have sores on them. I’ve complained to my dentist several times. He has referred me to an allergist and other specialists. I went to a university hospital for testing and learned that I tested positive or several metals, including nickel. Could the partial dentures be making me sick? I’ve noticed that when I take them out at night, I feel better. Thanks. Hilda
It’s disappointing to hear patients’ cases about metal allergies to dental work and know that their dentist is clueless. Alertness to metal allergies and sensitivities is essential for good patient care. If a dentist uses any metals other than precious metals in their restorative materials, their patient medical history form should ask if you’re allergic or sensitive to any metals. About 10% of women and about 1% of men test positive for nickel allergy.
Can an Allergy to a Partial Denture Make You Sick?
An allergy to a partial denture can make you sick because constant exposure to metals you’re allergic to causes a reaction. Although Dr. Finley would need to examine your mouth and the area surrounding the denture for an accurate diagnosis, the removable partial dentures may be provoking a reaction.
Why Does a Partial Denture Provoke a Reaction?
A partial denture can provoke an allergic reaction if it contains less expensive alloys that contain nickel or other metals. A metal alloy, Vitallium, contains chromium and cobalt. Many metallic removable partial dentures are made with Vitallium.
In one dentist’s case, a patient was allergic to mercury. And it was imperative to remove her amalgam fillings, which contain mercury, and replace them with composite fillings. After the first appointment to remove the amalgam fillings, a rash developed on her throat and chest. She also had some difficulty breathing from the amalgam dust during the removal of the fillings. For the following appointments, the dentist put a drape around her to prevent exposure. And they put a mask over her nose to prevent her from breathing in any amalgam dust.
When the patient returned to the office for her six-month checkup, she mentioned that her arthritis symptoms were gone after her amalgam fillings were removed. Her dentist was confident that constant exposure to allergens caused her arthritis symptoms.
We suggest that you get a second opinion from an advanced cosmetic dentist. Take your allergy test results with you. After reviewing your medical and dental histories, the dentist will explain your treatment options for a non-metal removable partial denture that you can wear without experiencing a reaction.
David Finley, DDS, of Monroe, LA, sponsors this post. Dr. Finley is a Fellow of the American Academy of General Dentistry.