It wasn’t that long ago when metal was an essential component of most dental restorations. In the 1980s, the metal-free revolution began with the development of composite filling materials and bonding technology. Just in the last couple of years, that revolution has continued with the introduction of new high-tech ceramics.
Porcelains have been used in dentistry for a long time, and porcelain is a very hard material—harder than tooth enamel. But it doesn’t have any flexibility, so under stress it will break rather than bend. Flexural strength is one of the properties of metals that make them great materials to use in dentistry. However, two new ceramics, lithium disilicate and zirconia, besides being hard, will flex under stress, giving them enough strength to be able to replace metal.
There are two principal reasons for Dr. Brooksher’s interest in metal-free dentistry. One is aesthetics. Metals are opaque and thus cannot be made to replicate the appearance of tooth structure. They have to be coated with opaquers, which eliminates any possibility of re-creating the natural translucence of teeth. Also, when used in crowns and bridges, there will be a dark line that will often show at the margin of the crown where it meets the tooth.
Metal Allergies and Sensitivities
The second reason for his move to metal-free dentistry is the growing concern over metal sensitivities by many patients. Nickel, beryllium, and chromium are metals that are often used in crowns and other dental restorative materials and each has a high incidence of sensitivity reactions. And some of these sensitivity reactions can be subtle, so some people like to avoid having metal in their bodies. Dr. Brooksher understands these concerns.
Dr. Brooksher uses metal-free dental restorations. They are highly aesthetic alternatives for fillings and crowns. And you won’t have to worry about an uncomfortable reaction or an immune response from your body that requires the dental work to be replaced.
In addition to being metal-free, all-ceramic crowns have several benefits:
- Aesthetics – They will blend with your natural teeth—matching the color and translucence. Also, a dark line at your gumline won’t show through, as with crowns with a metal foundation.
- Durability – They are extraordinarily strong.
- Conservative preparation – Composite fillings don’t require the removal of weakened tooth structure, because they bond to the tooth, strengthening those weakened areas. Only the diseased portion of the tooth needs to be removed, making for much more conservative tooth preparations.
The before-and-after photos below show how Dr. Brooksher used metal-free ceramic crowns to reshape and reconstruct this patient’s numerous damaged teeth, rebuild her bite, and give her a bright, beautiful smile.
e.max – When e.max is used for a dental bridge on front teeth, the results are highly aesthetic and highly durable. These crowns and bridges are made of lithium disilicate, a high-strength ceramic, overlaid with porcelain. This material is able to reproduce the color, gloss, and translucence of your natural teeth.
Zirconia – Zirconium dioxide is a high-strength ceramic that is often referred to as ceramic steel. It will support a bridge on back teeth and withstand the forces of chewing and grinding. Zirconia closely matches the color of your natural teeth.
Dr. Brooksher fills cavities with dental composite. In addition to being metal free, these solutions are healthy for your teeth in other ways:
- Bind to and strengthen them
- Help preserve more of your healthy tooth structure
- Closely match the shade of your teeth and look natural
Interested in Metal-Free Dentistry?
Call our office to schedule an appointment for an exam, or complete our Request an Appointment form.