I am wondering if I should have seen a metal-free dentist years ago. It has been about three years since I got several porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns done. I started to have a bunch of problems since then. I clench my jaw, always feel tense and grind my teeth. When I went back to the dentist, he gave me a nightguard to help with the grinding.
Also, I don’t know how to explain it, but I have this constant sensation in the roof of my mouth. It is weird and the best way to describe it is it feels itchy. I’m starting to think I may be allergic to the metal in the crowns. Have you ever heard of something like this? I’ve had gold crowns in the past with no issues.
All the grinding is damaging my other healthy teeth. Does this sound like a metal allergy? Could a metal-free dentist help me?
-Ed in Kansas
Thank you for your question. First off, you need to know that it is extremely difficult to provide you with specific recommendations without having seen you in person.
But, from what you have described, it sounds like you are dealing with a couple different issues.
It is possible that the itchy sensation you have described could be from the metal in the crowns, which could be from a metal allergy. The best thing to do is find out as much information as you can about the composition of the metal in the crowns. The laboratory should have provided this information to the dentist. It tells the dentist the composition of the alloy. If there is “Ni” listed, it means there is nickel in the crowns. Many people are allergic to nickel.
Do you have any other issues with metal products like earrings or buttons on clothing? This could be a sign that you are allergic.
Also, the dentist should have done a full metal history before placing the crowns. The dentist should have inquired about any metal sensitivities before the initial treatment. If this is flagged, then the dentist knows to avoid nickel containing metals.
The metals without nickel typically are more expensive. The gold crown you mentioned would have been in this category. Also, there are metals available with a higher level of platinum in them, which makes them better for molding to the tooth. Then, there are other options out there with a higher silver content. Each category works better for varying treatments and also differ in their level of quality.
If it is determined that you are indeed allergic to the crowns, they should be redone.
Also, the biting, grinding and clenching sounds like it may be caused from the crowns too. This is separate from the possible metal allergy. But, crowns or any dental work can disrupt your bite. When you body senses that something is off, it will try to correct it. Often, the result is grinding and clenching your teeth. If this is left untreated, it could result in issues with your temporomandibular (TMJ) joint. The nightguard should help with that. Also, you can have the crowns adjusted to hopefully correct this problem.
As you mentioned, this could be troublesome for your other healthy teeth. So, you need to get back into the dentist and have these issues addressed.
Rick Lane, DDS is a Petaluma dentist that is experienced with metal-free dentistry. Hopefully, this information is helpful and points you in the right direction to resolve your problems.