I’ve had upper and lower partials for a little over a year now and I think they are making me sick. I constantly have sores in my mouth and just don’t feel quite right most days. I brought it to the attention of my dentist several times and all he does is refer me elsewhere. I was finally feeling so bad that I ended up going to the hospital and they determined I have metal allergies – one in particular is to nickel. Could wearing these partials for several hours every day make me feel this way? — Sharon
You would be surprised at the number of people who have metal allergies and their dentists have no idea about them or what to do.
Constant exposure to metals that you are allergic to can, in fact, make you sick. It’s obviously hard to make a diagnosis through a blog post, but based on the information you have shared, it is certainly possible that the symptoms you are experiencing are caused by your metal allergies.
We recently had a case where a patient had a very rare and severe allergy to mercury and she had several mercury-containing amalgam fillings. It took several appointments to remove the fillings and replace them with white composite. We had to be very careful because she developed a rash on her throat and chest and had some difficulty breathing due to amalgam dust, which required us to drape her and have her breath through a nose mask. She had suffered with arthritis, but after the amalgam fillings were removed, she no longer had those symptoms.
Many removable partial dentures are made with an alloy called Vitallium, which is composed of chromium and cobalt. Some dentists use less expensive alloys that have nickel, or it could be another metal that is causing your issues.
A small percentage of people test positive for nickel allergy and women seem to be at greater risk. All dentists should have a standard about metal sensitivity/allergies on their medical history form – especially if they use any metals in their restorative materials other than precious metals. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. If you are a woman and have to wear hypo-allergenic earrings, your dentist needs to know. The good news is that today, there are many dentists who only provide metal-free restorations and in that case, it won’t matter.
This blog post is brought to you by Des Moines cosmetic dentist, Dr. Phelan Thomas. For more information on the services he provides, please visit his Des Moines cosmetic dentist website.