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Cosmetic Dental Procedures: Options for Those With Metal Allergies




Woman with sparkling white teeth smiling

Cosmetic dentistry helps correct tooth disorders, improves smiles, enhances oral health and promotes better physical & mental health. Unfortunately, there are people who experience allergies brought about by contact with components used in dental cosmetic procedures. Rashes, pain, and headaches are some of the possible reactions to metal allergies in certain cosmetic dentistry practices. The good news is that patients with metal allergy can still opt for cosmetic dentistry and enjoy its benefits. Patch testing and metal sensitivity tests assure that allergies are avoided, but where detected, then the use of non-metals and viable materials in procedures minimize unpredicted sensitivity for a good success rate.  

Common Sources of Allergy in Dentistry

Metal allergy is widespread among the general population with roughly 17% of women and 3% of men sensitive to nickel (Thyssen, 2010). It is also the most common metal that causes contact dermatitis in orthodontics. Sensitivity to materials is not only confined to patients. A dentist may also become allergic when exposed to components while undertaking a dental procedure. In a study by Syed et al, the most common materials that trigger an allergic reaction in staff and practitioners are latex, formaldehyde, and acrylates.

Titanium which is a popular material used in dental implants is another potential source of allergy for patients. If you are experiencing weak implants or feel pain at the site, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction.  

Safe Alternatives in Cosmetic Dentistry

To avoid a metal allergy or other types of sensitivity reaction, an allergy test before a dental procedure at Vibrant Dentistry is highly recommended. A dermatologist can easily confirm the presence of a nickel allergy by patch testing. Doing a metal sensitivity test or assessment prevents allergic reactions that may be uncomfortable or painful. If you test positive for an allergy, Dr. Carl Metz may recommend metal-free implants. Zirconia is a metal that has few side effects and although it is a newcomer in the field of dental implants, recent studies show that it is a viable option to titanium possessing physical properties that reduce the risk for peri-implant diseases (Cionca et al, 2016).

For those with nickel allergies, an alternative is to use stainless steel which is tolerable and safe to use in orthodontic appliances. To date, precious metals such as gold and platinum are not known to cause allergic reactions and are possible materials in orthodontics.

Porcelain is also a fantastic option in cosmetic dentistry. Used in fillings, crowns and bridges, pure porcelain looks natural and is less noticeable than metal fillings.   

Allergic reactions to materials used in cosmetic dentistry may affect people with hypersensitivity to metals. Testing of patients prior to dental procedures is recommended to propose alternatives such as zirconia, stainless steel, porcelain and precious metals. Ideally, dentists and specialists must know the physical properties of components used in procedures as well as their possible effects to recommend acceptable alternatives.

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