Dental allergies are immune system responses to materials commonly used in dental procedures. Symptoms include swollen tongue and lips, burning sensations, and gum irritation. Some of these symptoms are common side effects of dental procedures, so it can be difficult to recognize dental allergies.
Don’t let dental allergies get in the way of your oral health. Learn about three common dental allergies so your dentist can find the best way to treat your oral health conditions without triggering a reaction.
1. Dental Alloys
Dentists use dental alloys in several procedures, and they are responsible for most dental allergic reactions. Nickel, cobalt, and dental amalgam are the most common catalysts of allergic reactions. Dentists use these metal alloys in dental restorations and prosthetics.
Dental alloys have metal salts in them that interact with your skin’s proteins. This reaction causes the body to overproduce allergic (IgE) antibodies in individuals with metal allergies. An allergic reaction is characterized by redness, itching, swelling, and sensitivity.
Rubber is a common allergen that is frequently used in the dentist’s office in the form of latex gloves and rubber dams. Rubber dams separate the area of the mouth being worked on from the rest of the mouth. Latex allergies affect less than 1% of Americans, but there are groups of people who are more susceptible to the allergy.
Allergic reactions to latex create itchy and swollen lips, mouth, and tongue after exposure. Allergic reactions worsen with every exposure due to sensitization, so talk to your dentist immediately if you think you have latex allergies. They may be able to offer hypoallergenic alternatives, like nitrile gloves.
3. AcrylatesAcrylates are chemical compounds that form part of plastic materials. They were named Contact Allergen of the Year in 2012 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. In dentistry, acrylates form adhesive paste common in dental procedures and denture materials. Acrylates only cause allergies in their powdered or liquid form.
Acrylate allergies cause burning, itching, asthma, and hives in some patients. Like all other dental allergies, patch tests are the best way to determine if your reaction is allergic rather than irritant in nature.
Allergic vs. Irritant Reactions
Dental procedures are less intrusive than they once were, but they still can cause irritation, swelling, and redness in patients’ mouths. Since these symptoms are similar to allergic reactions, it can be difficult to differentiate between allergic reactions and normal irritation to dental work. Numbing agents further complicate the differentiation.
If you suspect you have dental allergies, you should tell your dentist and have a healthcare professional perform patch tests. A patch test exposes a small area of your skin to suspected allergens. The area of skin is monitored for an allergic reaction. This is a safe way to test for allergies, but people with a history of severe allergies or skin conditions should not do patch tests.
Prioritize Oral Health and Get Tested for Allergies Today
Dental allergies can be detrimental to oral health. People with allergies may be reluctant to schedule bi-annual dental appointments because they worry about allergy flare-ups. Find out if you have a dental allergy so your dentist can work with you to create the most comfortable experience possible.
Contact Blue Island Smiles today to learn how we can provide dental care while accommodating your dental allergies.