Metal-free dentistry has become increasingly popular, both among dental professionals and their patients. Dentists still use stainless steel instruments and trace quantities of metals can be found in virtually all restorative materials, so no dental practice is completely “metal-free.” What then is meant by metal-free dentistry?

Metal-Free dentistry refers to the use of composite resins and porcelain ceramic in dental restorations, rather than mercury amalgams or other metallic alloys that have been used for centuries. Let’s explore some of the factors contributing to this modern trend in dentistry.

Metal-based restorative materials

For generations, the most commonly used material for dental fillings was silver-colored amalgam, an alloy (or combination) of mercury and several other metals including silver, copper, tin, and zinc. Dental amalgam is a long-lasting material that is still used in dentistry today; however, it has fallen out of favor for a number of reasons. These include aesthetics, health concerns related to mercury toxicity, and, in some states, costly requirements for the safe disposal of old amalgam fillings.

Gold has been used in dental restorations for thousands of years because of its strength and durability. Like amalgam, dental gold is actually an alloy of several metals, including gold, platinum, palladium, and others; however, gold is much more expensive than amalgam and looks equally unnatural. While gold is still sometimes used for crowns on molars and premolars, most people prefer more natural-looking crowns for their front teeth.

Non-metallic alternatives

Composite resins have largely replaced amalgam and gold alloys as the preferred material for filling small to medium-size cavities and repairing chipped or otherwise damaged teeth. These tooth-colored composites are a combination of glass, quartz, and non-toxic synthetic resins that form a strong bond with the surrounding tooth. Composite resin fillings require less drilling than amalgam fillings and, therefore, preserve more of the natural tooth.

Composite resins are comparable to amalgam in durability but are much more aesthetically pleasing. Unlike amalgam, composite fillings do not darken or otherwise discolor the natural tooth. In fact, if applied properly, composite resins are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth.

Porcelain ceramic is the most durable non-metallic restorative material but is generally more expensive than composite resins. Because of its strength and durability, it is sometimes used to fill larger cavities in the molars. Like composite resin, porcelain ceramic blends in well with natural teeth. Ceramic is, by far, the most commonly used material for natural-looking crowns, veneers, bridges, implants, and dentures.

Advantages of metal-free dentistry

By avoiding the use of metal-based materials in dental restorations, dentists can be assured that neither they nor their patients are being exposed to any potentially toxic metals, particularly, mercury.

Modern composite resins and porcelain ceramic are excellent substitutes for mercury amalgams and other metal-based materials. They are durable and can be easily molded or repaired if necessary. In addition, there is no denying that the cosmetic properties of composite resins and porcelain ceramic are far superior to those of metal-based fillings and crowns.

The advances being made in the development of non-toxic, natural-looking restorative materials are truly amazing. So, if you are in search of that perfect smile, look no further than the metal-free dentistry experts in Michigan.