I’ve been fitted with a complete set of dentures. On the first day, wearing them for 9 hours, I had swollen glands and chemosis (swelling around my eyes). On the second day my glands in my throat swelled, and the chemosis worsened. The dental student made adjustments to the fit. They fit well, both lower and upper without much soreness. By the third day, wearing them for 9 hours again, I became very sick with swollen glands, very irritated oral mucosa with redness on the roof of my mouth, tongue, sinusitis, throat swelling and difficulty swallowing. I used Benadryl for the allergy symptoms.
I discontinued wear for a week. I had to see an ophthalmologist for eye infection brought on by suspected allergy. I continued on Benadryl for the symptoms. My face swelled around my eyes, mouth and neck. A bit of difficulty breathing with irritation and itching in the back of my throat.
I tried again after a week and wore them for 2 days and a recurrence of symptoms with abundant of mucus production in my sinus and bronchioles.
Again I discontinued for another week. Finished the eye Rx drops, before trying again for my third attempt. The dentures fit so well, I didn’t want to give up. The first day I had mild symptoms, with swelling in the lymph glands in my throat and jaw. The second day, chemosis returned with swelling around the eyes, burning in my throat and swollen mucosa and glands again. I am on my third day, today. I’m starting to feel the repeat of all the worst symptoms again.
What do I do from this point forward? I love the appearance and the fit of both upper and lower dentures. What can the Dental College student and faculty do to help me.
– Pamela Malone from Warren, MI
(See Dr. Hall’s answer below.)
We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.
It sounds for all the world like you’re allergic to the dentures, and my first advice would be to not wear the dentures until this can be resolved. Allergic reactions like this shouldn’t be toyed with. You have already had swelling enough that has made it difficult to breathe. Some allergic reactions can be life-threatening. The swelling and the redness are all typical allergic reactions, and the fact that Benadryl makes it better almost clinches this diagnosis.
Your first step is to determine exactly what you are allergic to, and this will require a visit to an allergist. It is very possible that you are allergic to the unreacted monomer in the denture. Let me explain.
The denture base is made of an acrylic. When the denture is processed, this acrylic is in liquid form. A chemical reaction is induced to cause this liquid to harden. What happens in the hardening process is that the liquid, which is a monomer, is turned into a polymer—a long molecule that is a solid. In this process, there is always some leftover monomer that hasn’t reacted. If you are allergic to the monomer, they can try to get this leftover monomer to convert to polymer by immersing the denture in very hot water for several hours (see research on this in the National Library of Medicine).
An alternative would be to re-make the denture with a different material. There are several resins available out of which the denture base can be made, and they would just have to use a different one. But this would mean having the denture completely re-made, which could be hard for you since you are so happy with the denture otherwise.
But the key is to have an allergist, with patch tests, to find out exactly what you are allergic to.
See also our posts on metal allergies.
Do you have a comment or anything else to add? We’d love to hear from you. Enter your comment below. Or click here to ask Dr. Hall a question.