Theriot Family Dental

Am I Allergic to My Zirconia Crowns?

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I had a difficult time with this crown from the beginning. The dentist had a hard time getting me numb. I was so ready for that appointment to be done. Unfortunately, that just started my problem. Ever since then my throat has been itchy and burning. My mouth has been dry, which has caused my tongue to stick to my teeth. As much as I hated to, I went back to my dentist to see if I was allergic. He assured me that no one is allergic to zirconia and the problem was probably acid reflux. I went to my doctor and he said there is no evidence of acid reflux. Are there other options here? I am miserable.


Dear Trudy,

Woman resting in the dental chair while using dental sedation

I’m glad you wrote. Though there is not official documentation that I have seen of a zirconia allergy, that does not mean that it cannot exist. The human body is very complex and each person is unique. There is a way to get tested for a specific allergy, but you will need to see an allergist.

However, I am leaning toward thinking you are experiencing Burning Mouth Syndrome. While documentation says we don’t know the cause of this syndrome, dentists have seen a connection between traumatic dental experiences and patients who experience the symptoms you have. You definitely had a traumatic experience at your appointment. There is not a “cure” as such, but there are ways to treat the symptoms until they subside, as well as prevent this from happening at any new appointments.

The key will be to ensure you can get numb at your next appointment.  This will give you a pain-free and anxiety-free appointment. Here is what can help with that. When someone has dental anxiety, it has a tendency to burn off the numbing medication before it can effectively help the patient. I think you need to see a sedation dentist when you have dental work done.

Given your last experience, I suggest you see one who offers oral conscious sedation. This is administered by a pill. The medication will completely relax you. In turn, that will allow your numbing medication to do your job. This has will have the dual benefit for you of both preventing burning mouth syndrome while allowing you to get your work done in a completely relaxed way. In fact, most patients sleep through their appointments when using oral conscious sedation.

This blog is brought to Baton Rouge Dentist Dr. John Theriot.