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Hives, also called urticaria, can originate from a large number of possible things. While its symptoms may be obvious, finding the cause is not unlike like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Researchers have tried to pin down the causes of urticaria for decades now and they are no closer to finding a single definite answer. The symptoms associated with an outbreak of urticaria are the appearance of swollen, red plaques all over the body. This rash is itchy and may also sting or burn.

This almost always occurs due to exposure to an allergen or set of allergens that is enough to trigger off this response.

Types of Hives (Urticaria)

Hives can be placed into two categories, depending on the duration of symptoms.

Acute: This is when the symptoms appear suddenly and may even be painful. Such an outbreak does not last for longer than six weeks. The cause is associated with any recently taken drugs or food or even infection.

Chronic: This is when the symptoms last for longer than six weeks and in such cases the cause becomes almost impossible to determine. Some researchers have postulated an autoimmune aspect to this but that has yet to be conclusively proven.

Relationship between Hives and Tooth infections

It has long been thought that there might be a link between tooth infections (such as an abscess) and urticaria.

This link has not been proven yet.

There are stray case reports of the appearance of hives along with acute dental infections but the exact reason for that is unknown. One possible reason for the simultaneous appearance of hives and dental treatment is the use of anti inflammatory medication along with antibiotics.

Certain non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen - which are commonly prescribed in dental offices - are associated with an allergic reaction that can cause the outbreak of hives.

A study which sought to establish the link between dental infections and chronic urticaria examined records of a hundred patients to see how many of them had dental infections and whether their symptoms subsided with treatment and resolution of their dental problems.

They came to the result that there was not enough evidence to suggest that a link between chronic urticaria and dental infections exists.

Acute urticaria can also be caused by the use of certain chemical ingredients that are used during the draining of abscesses or during irrigation of root canals. Sodium hypochlorite in particular has been associated with a number of allergic reactions.

Treatment and prevention

If the appearance of hives does occur soon after beginning dental treatment then the dentist should be informed of the fact so that he can try and isolate the possible causes of allergy.

This may include changing the medication that has been prescribed as well as a change in the use of intracanal medicaments.

The symptoms will subside with the use of anti histamine medication, however potential exposure to allergens should be avoided.

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