If I have a metal allergy, will I be allergic to an implant?

Hello!

I have a very severe metal allergy. When my skin has any contact with metal from jewelry or even buttons on my pants, I break out into a rash that eventually blisters, oozes and scabs. I need to replace a missing tooth, and according to my dentist an implant is my best choice. I am very concerned, even though he has assured me that he uses pure titanium and that the implants are hypo-allergenic. My biggest worry is that this is something that will not just be touching my skin and I have no idea how my body might react. Will a pure titanium implant be ok?

Shelly in Omaha

Shelly,
Studies show that allergies to metals, especially nickel, are on the rise. It’s unfortunate that your dentist doesn’t seem to be listening to your concerns, so it’s great that you are looking out for your best interest.

Most people have no problem with pure titanium – even people like you who suffer from severe metal allergies. Titanium can be found in candy and even toothpaste. If you’re concerned about a reaction to titanium, consult with an allergist first to determine exactly what metals you have issues with.

Pure titanium dental implants do exist, but titanium alloy ones are common, too. Your dentist should get a copy of your allergy report and you should insist on seeing the package insert from your dental implant. If you have any questions or concerns, call the company to find out what metals are used.

If you do find out you are allergic to titanium, there are ceramic implants on the market. They are not as common, but if you do your homework, you can find a dentist who uses them.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Can Fake Teeth be Whitened?

I have two fake lateral incisors on a retainer that I wear, but I am planning on getting permanent implants within the next couple of years. In the meantime, my natural teeth are noticeably yellow and I’d like to whiten them. Can I whiten my fake teeth?

— Mark in PA

Mark,

Unfortunately only natural teeth whiten. For the process to work, the whitening agent must come in contact with a live surface – like that of a natural tooth – and open the pores in the enamel to reach the dentin. The oxygen in the whitening agent then penetrates the dentin layer where more whitening takes place and makes it last. That means things like crowns or porcelain veneers cannot be whitened.

If you’re planning on getting implants, we recommend bleaching your teeth about a month before your porcelain crowns are placed. Your dentist will be able to match your new crowns to the new tooth color. If you want to whiten now, a new retainer will need to be made to match your new tooth color. You’ll need to decide if it is worth the cost to do it right now and then also pay for implants later. If you do whiten now, be sure to do a quick touch up right before your crowns are made.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Porcelain Veneers are Irritaing my Gums

I recently had some of my teeth prepped for porcelain veneers. Right now I am wearing temporary veneers, but I have noticed that my gums around the prepped teeth are very irritated – even to the point of bleeding. Is something wrong? – Shelly in VA

Shelly,

If you’ve ever experienced a home remodel or something similar, you know that sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. That is very true with the smile makeover you are undertaking. The treatment may have irritated your gums or the temporaries might be the culprit. The good news is that they will heal! Salt water rinsing a couple times a day is a great way to speed up healing, and also be sure to brush carefully and gently and avoid alcohol based mouth washes as they will try your gums out. Also, don’t be afraid to use ibuprofen, for pain and inflammation, or even Orajel. Talk to your dentist at your next visit – he should be to tell you how the healing process is going. Once you lay eyes on the beautiful finished product – your new smile – you’ll soon forget the pain in getting there!

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Why Do I Have Tooth Pain After Zoom and How Do I Treat It?

I just had Zoom whitening done yesterday and my teeth are killing me. I can’t breathe, let alone eat or drink. Did they do something wrong? Why does it hurt so bad? How can I make it stop? My dentist is out of the office for the weekend and I’m seriously considering going to urgent care to see if they can help.

-Cam

Dear Cam,

What you are experiencing can be normal for someone who started out with sensitive teeth and then whitened. Thankfully, it’s temporary and manageable.

Your teeth are covered in microscopic pores or tubules. When you did the Zoom treatment, these tubules opened up to allow the whitening agent below the surface. For a few days after any whitening treatment, this will also allow anything else you expose your teeth to easy access to the inner part of your tooth, which is responsible for sensitivity and pain. This is why it’s very important to avoid things that can restain your teeth for a few days and also why some people experience varying levels of sensitivity.

Start with an over-the-counter pain reliever and keep up on it for a couple of days. Take care to breathe through your nose and not your mouth. Drink using a straw and avoid any hot or cold foods. Many patients report that using a topical fluoride rinse or paste will help reduce sensitivity, but that’s most effective when started a few days before you Zoom or whiten.

Rarely, as a result of Zoom, other whitening or other dental treatment, the pulp of the tooth will become inflamed and build up pressure within the tooth. This is known as pulpitis. Treatment for it is the same as sensitivity, but it typically lasts a little longer. You can expect relief from pulpitis within a couple of weeks.

If the pain is keeping you up at night or continues on through the weekend, place a call to your dentist. He may be able to prescribe pain medication, a desensitizing agent or a stronger fluoride gel even if he isn’t in the office.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.