I’m afraid this is going to sound a little weird, but I’m worried that I might be allergic to my cosmetic bonding. I’m 35 and have never once had a single cavity. Every time I go in for a checkup, they have always told me my teeth and gums are perfectly healthy. However, despite being very healthy with no cavities, my front teeth didn’t look all that great. One of them had a small chip and they had some gaps between them that made them look a little funny, so I talked to my dentist about ways I could fix them without stripping away too much tooth, and he said that he could use his regular tooth filling material in a cosmetic application to reshape them a bit. It seemed like a great idea, and in all fairness, I thought he did a really good job with them. For the first time ever, I felt like I could smile and show my teeth.
However, starting later that very first day, I noticed my gums felt a little funny, and over the course of the first week, it became more of a constant itchy feeling. I called the doctor and they agreed to take a look. Not surprisingly, he said my gums were swollen and irritated, but what really surprised me is that he blames me. He said I’m not doing a good job brushing and flossing. The thing is, I haven’t changed anything. I’m still following the exact same routine I always have, except now my gums are irritated and they bleed easily.
I’ve never heard of anyone being allergic to fillings. Is this even possible, or is my dentist right that somehow I’ve changed my routine and I’m causing this?
It’s possible to be allergic or sensitive to just about anything, so yes, it’s possible that you’re allergic to cosmetic bonding material. A true allergy is really rare. Sensitivities are slightly more common, but the vast majority of the population doesn’t have any trouble with the white filling materials. They’re mostly made of glass and plastic- things you probably come across all the time in your daily life, but perhaps you do have a sensitivity or allergy to one of those or another component of them. There are tests you can have done to check. One of the better-known ones is called a Clifford Reactivity Test. The company can provide you and/or your dentist with a full list of dental materials you react to, and your dentist can cross reference any issues with compounds included in the filling material he uses. If it comes back that you do have an allergy or sensitivity to something, he may be able to redo the dental work with something you don’t react to.
Now, you didn’t get into what, if any, tests he ran when you went in. One of the common issues dentists have when they aren’t particularly skilled at cosmetic work is that they sometimes don’t smooth the material out well near the gum line. This can create a little shelf or nook that collects plaque, which would cause localized gingivitis. Something like that wouldn’t show up the first day, but if he maybe nicked the gums or something while he was working, it would be easy enough to think it’s all one ongoing battle, when you’ve really had two different issues.
It’s worth talking to him one more time and expressing your concerns. You can even mention the possibilities of there being a little extra bulk or a materials sensitivity/ allergy going on. If he isn’t willing to look into these, get a second opinion from another dentist.
This blog is sponsored by Uveneer, a direct composite veneer template system for dentists.