Metal was ubiquitously seen in dental practice for hundreds of years, and was still common 25 years ago. However, research has indicated that this is a damaging and dangerous practice. Mercury along with the other metals commonly used in dental work can gravely affect health. These materials are highly toxic, causing oxidative stress and possibly nephrotoxicity. The use of metal in dentistry is the topic of much debate.
Fillings made of metal are dangerous, for several reasons. The metal is easily affected by changes in temperature, and this can weaken the tooth. The weakening of the tooth, in turn, can lead to bacterial infection and decay. These fillings also require the removal of substantial amounts of natural tooth structure, and this can incur the chipping and fracturing of the tooth.
Metal-free dentistry is a favorable option for many reasons, and metal dentistry is quickly being replaced by this safer and more affordable option. Composite fillings, the most commonly used alternative, are made of resin. The resin is either glass- or plastic-based. These fillings are more aesthetically pleasing because they are tooth-colored, in addition to their safety and health advantages.
Composite fillings are much more robust than their metal counterparts. They are also much more effective in tooth repair, because the resin acts as an adhesive that helps keep the tooth intact. The placement of the filling also does not require the substantial removal of natural tooth structure. Composite fillings are much more affordable and less time consuming to place. They don’t lead to periodontal disease or discoloration of teeth.
Zirconia crowns are another development in the evolving field of metal-free dentistry. They are composed of zirconium, making them robust and long-lasting. They look much more natural because of their color, and they don’t require the removal of significant amounts of healthy tooth structure to place. They are modifiable and biocompatible, and much more sturdy than porcelain crowns which often chip.
Metal-free dentistry is very dynamic. Composite fillings can help repair tooth chipping, breaking, and wear and tear. They help keep the tooth intact, are aesthetically pleasing, and don’t cause toxicity or damage health.