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Dentistry/Nickel allergy and crown


NoMoreDentalPain wrote at 2008-12-19 22:13:28
I am a 32 year old female and can relate to this article in more than one way!! Throughout my whole life I have suffered huge mouth ulcers (similar to canker sores only bigger) after EVERY visit to the dentist.

I recently had to switch dentists as mine had left the practice. I saw the new dentist because of a cracked tooth that previously had a root canel. On the first visit he just had a look, we discussed treatment options, and he put me on antibiotics to settle the infection before any work began. That was on a Monday, and I was scheduled to see him again on Friday.

On Friday, he prepared the tooth for a crown and gave me a temporary. During the procedure, he kept pausing and rinsing my mouth. I didn't think much of it. When he was done he asked me about the ulcers in my mouth (caused by my Monday visit).

Now I have mentioned this problem to numerous dentists in the past and it keeps getting brushed off. So I simply informed him that the ulcers were a result of my visit with him on the Monday appointment, and waited him to give me some excuse about how I was wrong, and it wasn't possible. Instead, he immediately announced that I must have a nickel allergy.

Wow! You can only begin to imagine how elated I felt that someone acknowledged a problem that was very real, and painful for me! He explained that he kept rinsing my mouth because he thought he was nicking me with his instruments. Wherever his instruments touched immediately turned red, making him think it was blood. I asked why none of the other dentists were able to make this diagnosis?!?! He said that a nickel allergy produces a delayed immune response (24 - 48 hours). Since most people only go to one visit at a time, most dentists never see it and by the time the patient goes back again, they've often forgotten the pain following the dental visit.

He told me to perform a very easy test on my own. I came home and taped a nickel to my wrist. I left it there for about 3 hours. When I looked at it, my arm was red all around it, I had a rash from my wrist all the way up to my elbow, AND my arm was swollen!!!

At that visit he put me on a 6 day oral steroid treatment and told me to take Benadryl. It was the first time ever, I did not break out with mouth ulcers after a dental visit! The only other alternative is to find someone with Titanium tools, which is impossible because it is so expensive. So now, as long as I take Benadryl at least two days before a dentist appointment and continue it for 4 - 5 days after, I don't get a reaction.

I can easily see how your crown can be producing the symptoms you are having. My advice would be to have the crown removed and go with either porcelain or gold. While I have a nickel allergy, as long as the gold is 14k or higher, I am fine. The same goes for any jewelery I buy.

Follow your instincts and best of luck!!!

Janet wrote at 2009-02-21 21:08:34
When I see this post I feel very bad for the patient.  I had a nickel crown placed on a back molar and an immediate allergy reaction.  The dentist insisted that the crown was high metals and would not remove it.  He told me it could take up to six months for the crown to become comfortable, thus brainwashing me.  He provided me a false Identalloy document, further confusing the situation with a new dentist.  Finally, after seven months of pain I had the crown cut off, sent in to a lab and found that it was 76% nickel.  I feel this could have happened as well to this dental patient.  Apparently many dentist try to make some money this way. . . . .!

Marco Caicedo, Ph.D wrote at 2009-09-18 03:19:41
If you are concerned about metal allergies, please visit to get more information on allergy to implant metals and how to get tested for it.

Carrie Pena, RDA wrote at 2011-02-21 17:12:35
go to this is a lab in Houston Texas.  The e.max crown is made from lithium dislicate - a high strength ceramic.  They have a durability study to view too.  

Taylor wrote at 2011-05-11 13:09:55

I would like to post my own experience to try to help Jill.  I too experienced problems with my gums after having two crowns fitted.  I too cannot wear anything nickel.  I had one crown removed (not pleasant as suffer with dry socket too) I then had two years of pain and no answer from my dentist although I did point out the nickel issue.

I had many painkillers, xrays, visits to the dentist, doctor etc etc.  I was going around in circles as my dentist wouldnt remove the other crown due to the problems they had with the first one.  I was refered eventually to hospital and they did a apicectomy as they said there was an infection between the sinus and top of gum!!!! I had this done under local which I wouldnt advise. I am still suffering and my blood pressure is increasing so my doctor has said he feels all this is linked to the nickel theory from the very beginning...I spoke to the hospital and they now think it could be the nickel theory and are going to remove my crown.. I just wished the dentist had listened to me and I wouldnt have had over 2 years of pain and ops.  Go with your gut instinct and push to get it sorted dont wait like me!!!!! Cal

EMW wrote at 2011-07-19 18:12:37
RE: Nickel in crowns not causing allergic reaction and inflammation of gums but another reason?  I have 5 crowns, 2 have absolutely no swelling/inflamation at all (gold), three (ceramic) have caused my gums to swell and be inflammed since they were put in.... 5 years now! I JUST found out that they contain nickel and I'm highly allergic to nickel in jewelry.

emwoak wrote at 2013-10-31 14:22:41
I disagree with this dentist's answer. I have an allergy to nickel. I have to wear stainless steel backed watch bands - not cheap ones containing nickel. I cannot wear dimestore jewelry, I break out in a red rash which weeps. I have two crowns side by side and have had problems with them every since I got them - 8 years. Dentist trimmed my gums twice. I brush constantly using a spin brush and floss daily and use a water pik. It is not my gums. My dentist and his associate continue to say I need to brush more and it's what the crown is made of - btw I have 3 gold crowns and no problem at all with them. Needless to say, I am changing to another dentist because I must have one like the one who answered your question. Keep asking, and don't stop til you've solved the problem.

c wrote at 2014-06-30 12:49:33
There are several potential causes for the inflammation around the crown that the dentist who answered this question neglected to mention -- which is unfortunately quite typical of dentists in the U.S.A (the dental industry is one of the most corrupt industries in this country and yes, that includes the A.D.A...I know this from personal experience and from exhaustive research...Read the book "Uninformed Consent: The Hidden Dangers in Dental Care" by Hal Huggins, DDS/MS and Robert Levy, MD/JD for all the details and the cases / studies to back it up).

Here are just a few possibilities:

1. Allergy to nickel (over 600 million people are allergic to the metal nickel so it's not "quite rare" as dentists would like to have you believe; the main cause of this allergy is from constant exposure to it which is why Europe has strict anti-nickel laws to limit or ban it's use.  Jewelry gets blamed a lot for this, even earring posts, but I suspect that the main reason stems from dental crowns b/c it's in your mouth).

2. Allergy to adhesive used under the crown, especially if it contains latex or other allergen (latex allergy can be triggered in people who are constantly exposed to it such as people in the medical community; however, did you know that the vast majority of people who have root canals are constantly being exposed to latex from the "guta percha" that's permanently inserted into the root of their tooth ?  Google it to learn more.)

3. Improper removal of the tooth in the space where the crown was inserted (looked up "cavitation", also detailed in the book "Uninformed Consent")

I could go on and on....I've suffered, and continue to suffer, a lot as a result of dental malpractice --  even from top dentists that charge 3 x's what regular dentists charge who are "suppose to" follow the Hal Huggins protocol, described in the Uninformed Consent book, but then get consumed in greed, make obvious mistakes (such as the ones described by the "Expert Dentist" who replied to the original post) or worse, and yet still refuse to fix (or simply say "let's look at it again in 6 months...translation: after the "brainwashing period" is over, or after the patient has given up and seeks help elsewhere.  

Bottom line: Research, research, research.  Try to find dentists that follow the Huggins protocol. Research their malpractice history. Try to get at least 3 referrals from his/her patient(s) who have had at least 2 or 3 different things done there.  Floss daily.  Pray for healing and direction.  


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Mark Bornfeld DDS


I can respond to all questions dealing with the practice of dentistry, from both the dentist`s and patient`s perspective. I am knowledgeable about all dental disciplines, from cosmetic dentistry to surgery, from restorative dentistry to root canal treatment. I have strong opinions about controversial issues in dental practice, including those topics which directly impact on the reputation of the profession in the eyes of both the lay public and our health profession colleagues.


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