I had 2 zirconia crowns put in during December 2019. Since then I’ve had a dry sticky tongue along with a burning in my throat. I’ve been to 3 ENT Doctors. Acid reflux was ruled out, mouthwash ruled out and the 3rd doctor said it’s burning mouth syndrome. My dentist said there’s been no allergy associated with zirconia. It’s now July 2020 and if anything it’s gotten worse. I need more dental work but that’s out of the question. I had lingual nerve damage that took a year to go away caused by dental work. I wish someone here had ideas. This has caused not only discomfort and pain but also depression.
One additional comment. During this last procedure a laser was used for tooth extension. Drilling of course was also done During this procedure a lot of water was used to protect surrounding teeth. I had difficulty breathing and had to stop the procedure as I regurgitated water. This put a great strain on my throat and I’m wondering if a connection is there. This has also affected speech. Please go away!
(See Dr. Hall’s answer below.)
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I would be careful ever telling any patient that allergy to some dental material is impossible. Rare, but I wouldn’t ever want to say impossible. There are some weird allergies out there that are extremely rare. And I have seen some reports of allergy to zirconia, though those are unconfirmed. (Click here to read this report of an allergic reaction to zirconia implants. The report sounds credible on a superficial level, but it would be nice if they had documented where this case came from. They don’t say whether this happened in their office or someplace else, so I wonder if this is just a rumor they heard. The lack of documentation leaves me having to categorize this report as hearsay.)
Having said this, to me your case sounds to be most likely burning mouth syndrome, so I am agreeing with the third ENT doctor. While I have heard it said that the cause of burning mouth syndrome is unknown, I have consistently seen a clear pattern of connection to traumatic dental experiences and dental anxiety. You not only have all the symptoms of burning mouth syndrome, your experience points clearly to that. You had this previous damage to your lingual nerve which would make you very anxious about the dental procedure and add greatly to the stress you would feel. You mention a high level of difficulty with the water and the great strain on your throat during the procedure. And now you have lingering problems with speech as well as depression.
Look at the comments numbers 8, 9, and 10 on the post I linked to burning mouth syndrome, and you’ll see a couple of people sharing stories of dry mouth and burning tongue after highly stressful dental experiences.
My recommendation? In my experience, a high level of dental anxiety is best treated with conscious sedation. If your dentist doesn’t offer that, I would find one that does. Your anxiety may even be great enough that you need IV sedation. This could achieve a successful, anxiety-free dental experience. I have seen that be a tremendous relief to many patients. In some cases it has totally cured their anxiety. In all the others, it has reduced it, usually greatly. You said you need further dental work—that would be the way to do it.
I wish you well.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.
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