For many years, dentists utilized composite metal in fillings and crowns, and continued to do so until 25 years ago. Recent research has revealed that using mercury or other metal in dental practice has serious effects on health and can lead to many problems. Mercury is highly toxic, leading to oxidative stress and possibly nephrotoxicity. It can also contribute to other health issues. The topic of mercury usage in dental work has been the topic of much controversy.
There are several reasons why metal fillings are a poor option. They are highly unstable, and their contents can be greatly affected by changes in temperature. When this happens, the tooth structure might weaken, which often leads to bacterial infection and decay. These fillings can also lead to fractures and chipping, because their placement requires tooth structure removal.
Metal-free dentistry is quickly replacing the harmful use of metal. In metal-free dentistry, dentists use composite fillings made of resin from glass or plastic. They are more aesthetically pleasing than metal fillings because they are tooth-colored, and they are much safer and healthier for the teeth.
Composite fillings have several other positive attributes. They are robust and can last a long time compared to metal fillings. They are also repair teeth more efficiently because resin acts as a glue that keeps the tooth structure together without removing substantial amounts of tooth. Resin fillings are also less costly and take less time to put in place. They don’t cause periodontal disease or tooth discoloration.
Another form of metal-free dentistry is the use of Zirconia crowns. These are made from zirconium, and they are robust, last a long time, look like natural teeth, don’t require substantial tooth structure removal, and are modifiable and biocompatible. They are stronger than porcelain crowns, and are much less likely to chip.
Metal-free dentistry allows for more versatility. Composite fillings can be utilized for other purposes such as repairing chipping, breaking, or wear and tear. These fillings help keep the tooth structure healthy and whole, look attractive, and don’t have toxic side effects.