I have been sick for over 2 years after having upper and lower partials put in. I’ve had sores in my mouth on my tongue. I complained to my dentist over and over. My dentist just referred me here there and everywhere. I finally went to Mass General Hospital and I am in fact allergic to several metals one being nickel. My questions is, can having these partials in my mouth for this long (I felt better at night when I took them out) however, never feeling quite right as I had to put them back in 7 or so hours later to go to work. Would this make you physically sick?
Thank you in advance for your advice.
Ginger from Massachusetts
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I am continually surprised by these cases that come to me about metal allergies and people tell me that their dentist doesn’t have a clue. This is fundamental and important.
To answer your question, yes, you can definitely become physically sick from constant exposure to metals to which you are allergic. Of course I can’t diagnose from here, but it is entirely possible that your sickness from the date of having these removable partial dentures comes from your metal allergies.
I had one rare case in my practice of a woman who was allergic to mercury. While most of my patients didn’t want mercury-containing amalgam fillings in their mouths, for this woman it was imperative to get rid of them because she had a confirmed and very rare allergy to mercury. We had several appointments to take out all of her amalgam fillings and replace them with composites. After the first appointment, she developed a rash on her throat and chest and had some difficulty breathing because of the amalgam dust that we had created during this procedure. From then on we draped her to avoid any additional exposure and gave her a nose mask to breathe through during these appointments. I remember when she came in for her six-month checkup after all of this was completed and I asked her if there was any change in how she felt. She told me that she had been troubled with arthritis, but since the amalgam was removed the arthritis was gone. I am confident that her arthritis was related to her constant exposure to allergens.
Many metallic removable partial dentures are made with an alloy called Vitallium, which is composed of chromium and cobalt and has no nickel in it, but there are less expensive alloys that do have nickel in them. Or they could have other metals that provoke reactions.
About 10% of women and about 1% of men will test positive for nickel allergy. “Are you allergic or sensitive to any metals?” should be a standard question on every dentist’s medical history form, if they use any metals in their restorative materials other than precious metals. But sadly, it isn’t. Most women with these sensitivities will know that they have to wear hypo-allergenic earrings, and the dentist should get this information before treatment. Though there are a growing number of dentists now who only provide metal-free restorations–if that is the case then of course they don’t need to ask this.
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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.