For decades, many dental procedures included the use of metals. However, they are neither aesthetically pleasing or particularly healthy.
Luckily, the dental industry is moving beyond the use of metals. The team at the BioMed Center New England in Providence, RI, can answer all of your questions about metal-free dentistry and find you alternatives that are both aesthetically pleasing and healthy.
What is dental metal?
The most common form of dental metal is a mix of mercury known as amalgam. It has been a part of traditional dentistry for decades. Although it is still in use today, there are questions regarding its safety. So much so, that some patients have begun opting to have amalgam from previous dental procedures removed and replaced with safer materials.
Who should be concerned about amalgam fillings?
Certain groups are more at risk for the adverse effects of mercury exposure from dental amalgam than others. These include:
- Pregnant women (or women planning to become pregnant)
- Mothers who are nursing
- Young children
- Individuals with a heightened sensitivity to mercury
- People with kidney dysfunction
If you are in one of these high-risk groups, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends you avoid dental amalgam. Talk to our team about your medical history and the options available.
What are some metal-free dentistry options?
There are two alternatives to traditional dental metal: a resin composite and ceramic porcelain.
- Composite. Resin composite is made from a mix of glass and plastics. It is similar in color and feels like natural teeth. Developed as an amalgam alternative, composite fillings are now the preferred choice of filling for those exploring metal-free dentistry options.
- Ceramic. Ceramic is known for its strength. It is higher in price than composite but is a much more durable material. Composite, which is a softer material, can wear down over time.
What are the advantages of composite?
- Composite teeth closely resemble natural teeth.
- Unlike amalgam, composite fillings do not discolor the surrounding tooth area.
- Composite requires less drilling. Amalgam requires a good deal of a natural tooth to be removed to make room for the filling.
- Composite can be used to mend small damages to teeth such as chips and worn-out edges.
- If a composite filling is lost, a relatively small amount can be added. With amalgam, the entire filling needs to be removed before the repair could take place.
What are the advantages of ceramic?
With ceramic fillings come all of the advantages of resin composite. Ceramic is, however, the more expensive option. While that may be a drawback at the outset of treatment, the advantage of ceramic is that it lasts much longer than composite, and in the long run may be the more cost-effective option.
Because of its greater durability, ceramic porcelain is often preferred for fillings in the rear teeth which are often under greater pressure than front teeth.
What goes into the metal-removal process?
Not only do we at Well Rooted Dentistry practice metal-free dentistry, but we can also help patients rid their systems of metal from past dental procedures. We are proud to use the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) which was developed by the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology. These comprehensive safety recommendations allow for the safe removal of amalgam fillings without leaking mercury into the system.
Metal-free dentistry options in Providence, RI
The staff at the Biomed Center New England offers several metal-free dentistry options to keep your mouth and body healthy. Call (401) 443-4007 for a free consultation or conveniently make an appointment online today.