In February 2021, a cosmetic dentist placed zirconia crowns on two of my molar teeth. He used a lot of water to protect some of my surrounding teeth. It was hard for me to breathe, I was throwing up water, and the dentist had to stop the procedure for 30 minutes until I was calm again. The whole ordeal strained my throat and affected my speech. And I had lingual nerve damage that lasted almost a year.
Since that time, my tongue has gotten dry and sticky, and my throat burns. Within the past two months, the dryness and burning have worsened. I thought I might have an allergy to zirconia, but my dentist said there’s no way I am sensitive to zirconia because it’s a ceramic. I have seen three ENT doctors who agree that I don’t have acid reflux, nor is the problem from a reaction to mouthwash or toothpaste. One ENT says I might have burning mouth syndrome from all the trauma.
I need more cosmetic dentistry, but it’s not happening soon. I’m still nervous after the experience I had last year. I’m starting to get depressed because I wonder whether I’ll never be able to finish my cosmetic dentistry work. I’ll have to start all over with another dentist because I’m afraid that my dentist will drown me with his sloppy tooth isolation and irrigation techniques. How can I be sure that I’m not reacting to the zirconia crowns? – Thanks. Rebekah from Seattle
Thank you for your inquiry.
Are You Allergic to Zirconia Crowns?
Although it is rare to have an allergic reaction to zirconia crowns, it is not impossible. And no dentist should tell you that you cannot be allergic to zirconia. You will need an allergy test to confirm if zirconia causes an adverse reaction.
Although Dr. Thomas would need to examine your crowns and oral tissue, it seems that the ENT specialist who suspects you have burning mouth syndrome has an accurate diagnosis. We have consistently heard and read about patients who have experiences like yours. And we see a connection between burning mouth syndrome and traumatic dental experiences. You were choking and vomiting during your dental procedure with the zirconia crowns. And you had lingual nerve damage. The ongoing strain on your throat, speech issues, and depression are enough to keep your anxiety level high.
Other people have experienced a dry mouth or burning tongue after stressful dental experiences. You are already uncomfortable with your current cosmetic dentist, so look for an advanced cosmetic dentist who offers conscious sedation. In our experience, conscious sedation can treat a high level of dental anxiety. Anti-anxiety medication will help you arrive relaxed for your dental appointment, stay comfortable, and remember little about your procedure the next day.
You do not have to forfeit cosmetic dentistry because of your anxiety. A skilled cosmetic dentist, along with sedation, will help complete your smile makeover so you can feel good about smiling again. If you get allergy testing and learn that you are sensitive to specific dental materials, look for a dentist who will use alternative materials.
Sugar Land, Texas, cosmetic dentist Dr. Siny Thomas sponsors this post.