Dental Tips Blog


Four Common Dental Allergies

Allergies are one the great enemies of good health and dental allergies are no different. If you have experienced heart palpitations, sweating, shaking, headache, itching, nausea or skin irritation during or following a dental treatment, it is possible that you have an undiagnosed dental allergy. In fact, research suggests that dental allergies are more common than previously thought. Here are four of the most common dental allergens.

  • Metals – Nickel, gold and mercury are metals commonly used in dental restorations (crowns, bridges, dentures, inlays) and in orthodontic appliances (braces, bite plates, spacers etc.).  These alloys can trigger a range of disturbing reactions in allergic individuals including itching, rashes, mouth ulcers, stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth structures), and even anaphylactic shock.
  • Latex – Natural latex rubber is a material found in many dental apparatus including gloves, dental dams, anesthesia syringes and catheters. People with a latex allergy experience a range of symptoms when exposed to the substance, whether through direct physical contact or by inhaling latex particles in the air. The most common reaction is skin dryness and itching, however, in severe cases, latex allergy can result in conjunctivitis, rhinitis, abdominal cramping, and anaphylactic shock.
  • Formaldehyde – Orthodontists regularly use formaldehyde in root canal therapy to sterilize and disinfect the canal. Formaldehyde is also found in many root canal sealers. This substance not only triggers asthma attacks in allergic individuals, but is also a known human carcinogen.
  • Local anesthesia – Anesthetic agents such as idocaine, novocaine, benzocaine, and procaine, used to induce numbness during dental procedures, can cause allergic reactions in certain people. Signs of being allergic to local anesthetics include blood pressure changes, hyperventilating, racing heart, hives, itching, and swelling at the application site.

Today, most dental practices are aware of the danger of dental allergies and offer hypoallergenic materials and treatment options for allergic individuals. For example, ceramic crowns may be used instead of metallic ones, and latex gloves can be replaced with synthetic rubber gloves. If you suspect you have a specific dental allergy, be sure to discuss it with your dentist so that alternative arrangements can be made.

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