If you have metal dental crowns in your mouth, you should seriously consider replacing them. You might have gotten them because they were the only option available at the time, but modern dentistry offers ceramic dental crowns that are suitable for pretty much any situation where a metal crown was used in the past.

Although there were good reasons to use metal crowns in the past, today there are just as good (or better) reasons to get rid of them now.

They Make You Look Old

When people see metal crowns in your mouth, it doesn’t take long for them to figure out that you’re probably an older individual. After all, metal crowns are an older technology, and you have to reach a certain age before you need crowns, so your metal crowns probably send a message that you’re probably older than you’re prepared to admit.

They Can Make Your Teeth Sensitive

Example of porcelain fused to metal crown

Example of a porcelain fused to metal crown

People with metal crowns often experience significant sensitivity to hot and cold drinks. Metal is a great conductor of heat, so when the hot or cold liquid touches your metal crowns, the temperature change gets conducted right down into the tooth, which can be very painful. If you’re having trouble enjoying your favorite hot and cold beverages and foods or switching between them (hot pizza and cold beer being a common painful combination), you might do better if you replace your crowns.

They Can Be Unhealthy

We’re not meant to have metal in our mouths, and that includes not only mercury fillings but also metal crowns. Many metal crowns are made of noble metals that don’t interact with our bodies, but some are made of less noble metals, such as nickel. Nickel not only causes some people’s gums to turn green, but it can cause a significant allergic reaction, resulting in systemic flu-like symptoms that can be annoying or even disabling.

They Can Interfere with MRIs

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used in medical treatments to get a clear picture of your anatomy. Unfortunately, metal crowns can interfere with your MRIs. Some metals, such as the titanium used to make dental implants, don’t interact with magnetic fields, but other metals, including nickel and gold, will respond when placed in a magnetic field.

At a minimum, these metals can distort the pictures taken by the MRI, which means that in some cases a doctor might have to order your crowns removed in an emergency. But at worst these crowns might be drawn to or repulsed by the magnet, which might cause them to fly off your teeth, causing a projectile injury.

They Have a High Risk of Decay

By designs, crowns cover the entire visible portion of your tooth. This is supposed to protect your teeth, but it may just conceal the damage that’s being done. In our experience, metal crowns have a very high risk of decay. Every time we remove a metal or a porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crown, we find decay underneath.

You might think your crown is fine, but it may not be. It’s better to remove the crown before the problem underneath becomes irreversible and your tooth can’t be saved.

They Can Corrode Dental Implants

We mentioned that titanium isn’t affected by magnetic fields, but it can help generate an electric current in your mouth. This is called a galvanic current, and it occurs when two unlike metals are put together in a liquid with ions dissolved in it, such as saliva. It’s the basic principle that makes batteries work, and it can lead to one of the metals being weakened.

Normally, titanium is a noble metal that won’t be weakened by this kind of current, but gold is even more noble, and it can lead to the corrosion (rust) of your dental implants.

If you are tired of your metal crowns or fillings and want them removed for any of the above reasons (or another reason), we can help. Please call (408) 354-5600 for an appointment with a Los Gatos cosmetic dentist at Top Down Dental.