Getting a tooth filled was a tedious affair just a decade ago. Tooth fillings were made of amalgam metal compounds that not only marred the beauty of your smile but also caused wounds during the procedure. However, advancement in dental technology has resulted in metal-free dentistry leading to the making of metal-free dental crowns and inlays.
Metal Free Dental Implants
Shortcomings of Metal Amalgams
When amalgam metal fillings came into the scene, they were considered as breakthroughs in dental advancement. Nevertheless, amalgam metal fillings as well as crowns had their own disadvantages. For example, metal fillings and crowns were prone to change in temperature. Under extreme hot and cold temperatures, the metal fillings and crowns tend to expand and contract thereby weakening the tooth structure. Such metallic structures gave an open invitation to various bacteria leading to rapid tooth decay.
Eventual discovery of the fact that the metal amalgam was made of harmful chemicals that may prove toxic to the body raised serious alarms across the world. The metal amalgam contains mercury and metals such as lead – both of which are harmful. When such metal amalgams used to break down, they caused gum infections and in severe cases blood poisoning. Mercury, being a neurotoxin, is associated with chronic illness, autoimmune disorders, birth defects, etc. Metal fillings are even more harmful for pregnant women.
Origin of Metal-Free Dentistry
The shortcomings of amalgam dental crowns and fillings caused the need for a biocompatible material for the same purpose. Metal-free dentistry resulted out of the same need. Metal-free dental crowns and fillings are made of glass, quartz, porcelain and special resin totally compatible with teeth as well as the body. In short, metal-free dentistry ensures lasting good health.
Advantages of metal-free dentistry
Metal-free dental crowns and fillings do not pose threat to teeth as well as the body unlike its amalgam metal counterparts. These are not only less expensive but also need less time to be fitted. It is highly customizable and requires lesser material than its metal counterparts. The best part is that metal-free crowns can be fitted in single visits to the dentist. The composite materials in biocompatible crowns and inlays last longer even though they look delicate.
For example, porcelain is equivalent to natural tooth material in terms of tensile strength. Porcelain veneers can also be shaded in the natural teeth tone. Also, metal-free dentistry enhances the aesthetic appeal of the face. Metal-free dental veneers and crowns do not account for dark shadows on gum line. They also prevent passing of electric energy between various alloys. They prevent the metallic taste as well as toxicity from passing on to the food that you eat.
Zirconia has emerged as the most popular metal-free dentistry material. Zirconia is the oxidized form of the metal zirconium that has similar properties to the material titanium. While zirconium is a metal, zirconia is ceramic. Zirconia is strong and durable like its parent metal and has the crystalline structure of a ceramic.
Metal-free dentistry is a more biocompatible, cheaper, more aesthetically appealing and easier solution for decaying and damaged teeth.