Current Oral Health Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 347–355 | Cite as

Oral Cavity and Allergy: Meeting the Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenge

  • Eleni PapakonstantinouEmail author
  • Ulrike Raap
Epidemiology (M Laine, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Epidemiology


Allergic reactions of the oral mucosa are associated with diverse symptoms and can severely affect patients’ quality of life. Oral mucosa changes such as stomatitis or lichenoid reactions can be the first evidence of a contact allergy, with oral lichenoid reactions after contact with dental restorations, especially amalgam fillings, being among the most common clinical reactions. Additives in foods and oral hygiene products may also cause allergic mucosal reactions. Subjective symptoms, such as pain, burning feeling, or dryness of the oral mucosa, as well as cheilitis or lip and facial swelling, may not only have an allergic component but may also be associated with other diseases that have to be excluded. A complete and thorough clinical examination of the oral mucosa is the first step in the diagnosis of a contact allergy. A detailed history of the patient’s oral care products, drugs, and dental materials is both essential and helpful for the clinician. As a result of the presence of mucosal changes, a patch test can be used for the diagnosis of contact allergy of delayed type. Although the patch test is the standard diagnostic tool for such types of contact allergy, proper interpretation of patch-test results and their clinical relevance can be challenging. As the number of patients with allergies resulting from different materials increases over the years, and a larger number of different dental materials are found to induce an allergy, it is essential for dentists to be aware of the possible allergic reactions to dental materials. Thus, we aimed to develop a systematic approach for contact allergy of the oral cavity, focusing not only on clinical manifestations and diagnosis but also on management and prediction of the risk of oral allergic reactions. A multidisciplinary approach for patients with an oral allergy is essential, with participation of physicians of different specialties, including dentists, allergists and dermatologists.


Oral cavity Contact allergy Mucosal changes Patch test Dental materials 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Eleni Papakonstantinou and Ulrike Raap declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Funding Source



Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Dermatology and AllergyHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany

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