I had upper and lower partials put in over 2 years ago, and I have been sick since then with sores in my mouth on my tongue. I have talked to my dentist, and he just refers me to different people. Finally, I went to Cleveland Clinic and found out that I am allergic to several metals, including nickel. I’m wondering if having the partials in my mouth for so long could make you physically sick? I do feel better at night after taking them out, but I never feel 100% normal because I have to put them back in a few hours later in the morning to go to work.
-Melissa from Ohio
I am always surprised with how many people say they have metal allergies and their dentist doesn’t know about it. It is very important that dentists know their patients’ allergies.
Yes, you can become physically sick from constant exposure to metals that you are allergic to, and it is very possible that your sickness is from your partial dentures because of your metal allergy. Especially since you started feeling ill when you started wearing the partials.
I heard of a dentist who had a rare case of a woman that was allergic to mercury, so it was necessary to get rid of her mercury-containing amalgam fillings in her mouth. She had several appointments to take out all of her amalgam fillings and replace them with composites. Unfortunately, she developed a rash on her throat and chest and had some difficulty breathing from the amalgam dust after her first appointment. After that, they started draping her to avoid the amalgam dust getting on her, and they also gave her a nose mask to wear. She came in for her six-month checkup and said that the arthritis she had been suffering with was now gone since they had removed the amalgam.
Some metallic removable partial dentures are made with Vitallium, which is composed of chromium and cobalt with no nickel. But there are also less expensive alloys that do have nickel in them or other metals that could cause a reaction.
Studies have shown that about 10% of women and 1% of men have a nickel allergy. Every dentist should ask every patient, “Are you allergic or sensitive to any metals?” However, not all dentists will ask this question. Women will oftentimes know they are sensitive to metals because they have to wear hypo-allergenic earrings.
Some dentists only provide metal-free restorations, so they wouldn’t need to ask about metal allergies or sensitivities.
This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Dentist Dr. Ryan Noah.