Disadvantages of Metal Fillings

By: Patricia Woloch

Most people over the years collect quite a large amount of gold and other metal deposits in their mouth. Years of inefficient brushing or total lack of oral hygiene results in a wide variety of tooth restoration including cavity fillings, crowns, inlays and other dental work. When making improvements to the smile line, many people want to get rid of all the grey dingy fillings and gold crowns, and renew their smile with clean, white, natural looking alternatives.

Despite the scare tactics used by the media to portray metal fillings as unsafe, the primary reason to consider an alternative to metal fillings is purely cosmetic. Amalgam and other metal alloys are simply unsightly when used as a filling to repair tooth decay. Because metal alloy options, especially amalgam, are less expensive than the other alternatives, it is still widely used to treat tooth decay.

Dental Amalgam

This metallic mixture of elemental mercury and silver, tin, and copper alloy has been safely used to treat dental decay for over 150 years. Amalgam is extremely durable and can withstand the constant pressures of chewing, especially when used to fill cavities in the back molars.

Amalgam is also relatively inexpensive and is still widely used to fill cavities in patients young and old. The safety of dental amalgam has been studied for several years and the FDA has concluded that it is perfectly safe. Removing existing fillings to be replaced by other materials should not be made based solely on safety concerns, since those concerns are unfounded.

However, dental amalgam is often replaced with alternatives during a smile makeover, where removal of the amalgam is done for purely aesthetic reasons. Removing the grey metal from the "smile line" is an essential ingredient in any smile makeover.

Nickel or Cobalt-Chrome Alloy

Amalgam isn't the only metal alloy used for filling cavities. Other common fillings are made out of nickel, or cobalt-chrome alloy. Patients electing an alternative to amalgam fillings often use these metal alloys. Because of their dark appearance, they are also used primarily to fill cavities in the back teeth.

The main disadvantage of these types of fillings is the dark metallic appearance of the filling, which can ruin a good smile. These fillings are also more conductive of cold and can lead to greater tooth sensitivity. The relative cost of these metal fillings is typically more than amalgam.

Gold Alloys

Mixed with other metals like copper, gold fillings are another good alternative. While mostly used for crowns or inlays, gold metal can also create strong fillings that have high strength, but allow a soft bite with opposing teeth. The primary reason for most people to replace gold fillings is the unnatural tooth color.

To replace metal alloy fillings with a tooth colored alternative like composite resin or dental porcelain, it is best to seek out a qualified cosmetic surgeon with experience in the metal alloy filling replacement. Replacement of metal fillings if often included in a set of procedures known as a smile makeover, which enhances the overall appearance of the "smile line" of the mouth.

Top Searches on
Dental Surgery
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Dental Surgery
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles