Dental Allergies to Metal Fillings

Dental Allergies (excerpts from January 2007 article in www.ivanhoe.com)

Cate Bennett's allergy to metals in jewelry also made her allergic to the metal crowns in her mouth.

Most people know when they're allergic to certain metals like those in jewelry. But those same allergies could be causing a much more severe reaction inside their mouth, and it causes problems that often go undiagnosed.

"I had inflamed gums. I had a great deal of sensitivity and pain," Bennett says.

When Prosthodontist Joseph Kravitz, D.D.S., saw Bennett's grey and purple gums and the holes where her gum tissue was pulling away from her teeth, he immediately recognized the problem.

"For 80 percent of the people that have an allergy on their skin, they also have a problem inside their mouth," Dr. Kravitz, of The Washington Center for Image Dentistry in Bethesda, Maryland, tells Ivanhoe.

Studies show up to 16 percent of women and 6 percent of men are allergic to metal that's found in onlays, crowns and dentures. Dr. Kravitz says the signs include red, swollen, gums that get itchy. "And you have a strong metallic taste," he says.

The allergies can develop over time. The most common allergy is to nickel, but other metals like gold and chromium can also cause problems. The solution is simple -- replace metal crowns with all ceramic ones. And the allergies usually fade within a day.

"In 90 minutes my gum went from sort-of a grayish purple to a healthy pink," Bennett says.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

Reported January 8, 2007

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