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Release Date: July 30, 2013
Review Date: November 11, 2016
Expiration Date: November 10, 2019
A wide variety of materials used for the construction of dental restorations, prostheses, and dental implants have the potential to cause allergic reactions among dental patients. Rates of metal sensitivity are thought to increase with exposure, and an estimated 15% to 20% of people within the western population are considered hypersensitive to at least one metal. Reported effects include intraoral redness, swelling and pain of the oral mucosa and lips, oral/gingival lichenoid reactions, stomatitis, cheilitis, extraoral urticarial or eczematous lesions. Increasing numbers of patients complain about intraoral and extraoral lesions, metallic taste, and skin reactions, which may be related to the dental materials used for restorations.
Hypersensitivity to metals in biomaterials used in dentistry and medicine requires all dental professionals to be aware of metals that patients may be allergic to and to exercise caution when selecting restorative materials. This basic-level course reviews the importance of metals for human health, identifies common harmful metals and their role in disease, and discusses hypersensitivity reactions, with particular regard to metal allergies in medical and dental patients. Corrosion is also discussed relative to its role in the hypersensitivity reactions experienced by dental patients. Chronic exposure to metal corrosion in the oral environment has been associated with swelling, bone resorption, oral lesions, and oral cancer in individuals who are hypersensitive to metals. For these reasons, it is imperative that dental professionals understand the different types of metals used in biomaterials, factors that increase corrosion susceptibility of dental restorations, and corrosion’s potential to increase patient hypersensitive to metals. Doing so will help dental professionals make more informed decisions about which biomaterials are the safest and most effective.
AGD Subject Code: 017
Western Schools designates this activity for 2 continuing education credits.
- Describe the essential role of metals in human health.
- Identify metals that are harmful to human health.
- Explain the relationship between hypersensitivity and metals.
- Describe the process of metallic corrosion.
- Describe the impact of metallic corrosion in the oral environment.
J. Anthony von Fraunhofer, MSc, PhD, FRSC, is professor emeritus, University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Baltimore, where he also served as director of biomaterials research in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He has written more than 400 scientific papers and 16 books, and contributed chapters to 15 monographs on dental biomaterials and materials science. Dr. von Fraunhofer is the author of the well-regarded monographs Dental Materials at a Glance and Research Writing in Dentistry, published by Wiley-Blackwell. His special interests are the biomechanical properties of materials used in medicine and dentistry and the degradation, wear, and corrosion of materials in the biosystem.
Patricia W. Kihn, DDS, is a dentist in private practice in Halethorpe, Maryland. In addition to more than 25 years of dental experience, Dr. Kihn has served as a director of regulatory clinical support activities and corporate complaint officer for DENTSPLY and has been an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Baltimore.
- Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
- You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
- Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
- All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.
- There are no prerequisites for this course.