For the millions of people in the U.S. missing one or more teeth, dental bridges are an inevitability. The type of dental bridge you choose can not only affect your smile; it can also affect your health. At AZ Dentist, we always advocate for a metal-free dental bridge.

What is a metal-free dental bridge?

Dental bridges and crowns are a fact of life for many people as they get older. When people lose teeth through trauma or other oral health issues, the gap in their smile can lead to other dental issues. The solution to this is often a dental bridge.

There are four types of dental bridges:

  • Traditional
  • Cantilever
  • Maryland
  • Implant-supported

Traditional, cantilever, and Maryland bridges rely on crowns or other attachments to the healthy teeth on either side of the gap, while implant-supported bridges are affixed with implants that are placed in the jawbone.

Dental bridges can be made of a number of different materials including:

  • All-porcelain
  • All-metal
  • Porcelain infused to metal
  • Zirconia

These materials differ in their strength, natural appearance, durability, and function.

At AZ Dentist, we only offer metal-free bridges and metal-free crowns. Our master ceramists custom-make our bridges from either inert, non-reactive porcelain, or fully customized zirconia. Both of these materials are the most natural-looking, durable, and cost-effective options to restore your smile, but we believe they’re something more than that. We believe they are the healthiest options as well.

Why is this so important?

AZ Dentist is a holistic dental office. Our first priority is to restore the function and form to your smile in a way that not only works but also takes your overall health into consideration.

Many people struggle with reactions to metal in their orthodontia and cosmetic dentistry. Approximately 10% of people are allergic to common metals used in dentistry, such as nickel, with women being three times as likely to be allergic. Nickel is used most often because it increases the strength of certain metals, which is important when you are dealing with chewing, grinding surfaces. However, this allergy can cause uncomfortable and serious reactions, all of which can be avoided by using metal-free bridges.

We want our patients to have beautiful smiles, but your comfort and overall health is of paramount importance. Although not fatal, a reaction to metal in dental bridges and crowns can cause a painful, itchy rash. Further dental work will not be possible until the reaction is resolved, and sometimes antibiotics are necessary to prevent infection.

Another common metal used in dental work may actually be fatal, but its substitute is not much better. Most dentists have stopped using mercury fillings, as mercury is toxic, but even white composite fillings can be problematic. These fillings give off chemicals that act in a similar manner to estrogen in the body.

While estrogen itself is not necessarily a bad thing, increased estrogen levels have been linked to certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and an increased risk of stroke. To be certain, there is not extensive research on the amount of estrogen that triggers these risks, but to avoid them when not necessary seems prudent.

Natural dental bridges and crowns that are metal-free do just that.

What is the procedure for a metal-free bridge?

As far as the process for getting a metal-free dental bridge, there is really no difference than with any other kind of dental bridge.

Your dentist will complete a thorough examination and work to resolve any underlying issues with your oral health. The type of bridge chosen – traditional, cantilever, Maryland, or implant-supported – depends largely upon the location of the bridge in your mouth and the health of your remaining teeth nearby.