Kids with braces aren’t alone – no one likes the idea of having a mouth full of metal!
Modern dentistry has already moved away from metal in many procedures, but can we go fully metal-free? Porcelain veneers are common enough, but many other dental procedures still rely on metals, especially fillings, crowns, and dental implants.
Silver-mercury amalgam fillings have been the standard for many years. Long lasting and relatively cheap, they show through the enamel to make teeth look discolored and grey, leach trace amounts of mercury into the mouth, and may even cause tooth fractures down the road.
Metal-free “white fillings” can be made of resin, porcelain, or composite. They are bonded to the tooth, so less enamel needs to be removed, and they don’t expand and contract with heat and cold like metal fillings. As a result, metal-free fillings can actually strengthen your teeth to dramatically decrease tooth cracking and the need for root canal treatment.
Crowns are used to repair teeth that have been damaged or are severely worn or misshapen. In the past, either a piece of metal or a piece of porcelain backed with metal was used to cover the damaged tooth, but like metal fillings, these crowns cause unattractive discoloration and other problems.
All-porcelain and all-ceramic crowns look much more natural and are more hypoallergenic than metal. Also, ceramic retains less plaque than metal, which can help prevent future dental problems. Like metal-free fillings, these crowns protect the integrity of the tooth better than metal dental work.
Dental implants are often necessary for patients who need to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Traditionally, a two-piece titanium implant is placed into the bone of the jaw to anchor a dental prosthesis. Implants may be used to support bridges, crowns, or even dentures.
New School – Almost!
Though not yet widely available, ceramic implants like those made from zirconia may soon replace titanium. Zirconia is inert, biocompatible, and naturally white, making it ideal for dental work. Though long in use in orthopedic surgery, zirconia is very new to dentistry, but may be key to going fully metal-free!
Will You Go Metal-Free?
At My Family Dentistry, we offer white fillings, porcelain veneers, and all-porcelain crowns so you can keep your smile as natural looking and as healthy as possible. If you have any questions about metal-free dentistry, give us a call anytime!
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