Metal was utilized in dental work for many years, and only 25 years ago, a dentist would have used such practices readily. However, recent research has shown that such practices can be highly damaging. Mercury and other metals used in this way can severely affect health. They are toxic and can cause oxidative stress and nephrotoxicity; the usage of metal in dentistry has therefore been controversial.
Such fillings are damaging for several reasons. Temperature changes affect the metal and thereby weaken the tooth, which can cause bacterial infection and even decay. Placement of these fillings also requires tooth structure removal, sometimes causing chips or fractures.
Additionally, there are substantive advantages to metal-free dentistry, and it is quickly eclipsing the metal usage practice. Composite fillings, used instead, are made of resin (containing either glass or plastic). These resin fillings are much more aesthetically pleasing because they are tooth-colored.
Composite fillings are also safer and more beneficial for health. They are very tough compared to metal fillings, and are more effective in repairing teeth because they contain an adhesive that helps to maintain the integrity of the tooth structure. This makes tooth structure removal unnecessary for the placement of resin fillings. They are also less expensive and time-consuming to place.
Zirconia crowns are another metal-free dentistry practice. They are made from zirconium, making them strong and durable. They are attractive because they are tooth-colored, and like the resin fillings, they don’t require significant tooth structure removal for placement. They are modifiable and biocompatible, as well as sturdier than porcelain crowns, which chip frequently.
Metal-free dentistry is also advantageous in its versatility. Composite fillings can help fix chips, breaks, and tooth wear and tear instead of simply filling a cavity. They are aesthetically pleasing, help maintain tooth structure integrity, and are not toxic or damaging to health.