Until recent years, when a crown or bridge was made to look aesthetically pleasing it was done by a process involving both porcelain and metal dental work. Described as porcelain fused to metal, these crowns and bridges were considered durable while providing the look of a natural tooth. But for some patients, metal crowns, bridges and fillings can cause allergic reactions or sensitivities. Porcelain fused to metal also lacks natural translucency and, over time, will show a dark line at the gumline.
Dr. Srinivasan places metal-free crowns and bridges made from high quality, durable ceramics using the latest dental technology. Unlike ceramics of the past, newer materials such as zirconia are designed to withstand pressure and flex without breaking, making them nearly as durable as metal.
Why Patients Choose Metal-Free Dentistry
There are two primary reasons why patients choose ceramics over metal when it comes to their dental work. The first is aesthetics. Porcelain fused to metal is opaque and over time a dark line can appear at the gums where metal begins to show. This does not occur when constructing crowns and bridges from all ceramic.
Another reason is sensitivity and the possibility of allergic reaction. The Center for Disease Control has estimated that up to 20% of the population may be allergic to at least one metal, and there are several metals used in dentistry that could be of concern. One of them is nickel, which has the highest rate of metal allergy among people today. Another is mercury, and in recent years some patients have expressed concerns over the presence of mercury in their dental fillings.
Alternatives to Metal
Crowns and Bridges
Dr. Srinivasan works with patients who require repair or replacement of broken or missing teeth to design a metal-free smile that is durable and attractive. For crowns and bridges, she prefers high-quality translucent zirconia for posterior teeth. For front teeth, she prefers the aesthetics of e.max, which is made of porcelain fused over a core of high-strength ceramic.
Also known as amalgam fillings, they are about half mercury. While the American Dental Association has proclaimed that there is no safety concern with amalgam, some patients express concerns over having mercury in their mouth. Patients also appreciate that with composite fillings less of the tooth requires removal, preserving more of the natural tooth.
Dr. Srinivan prefers to provide her patients with white composite fillings that are are strong, durable, and have a more natural-looking appearance than metal fillings.
If you would like to find out whether our options in metal-free dentistry are something that interests you, please contact our office for more information or to schedule an appointment.