What does a metal-free dentist use instead of metal?

man in parkMetal is one of the most commonly used materials in traditional dental practices. Metal-free dentists, also called natural dentists, have eliminated the use of metal in their practices, and by doing so, reduce their patients’ risk of developing various life-altering health problems due to an overexposure to mercury.

In fact, natural dentists are so concerned about their patient’s well-being that they use extreme protective measures when removing metal fillings. The Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) is used to protect both the patients and dentists from being exposed to mercury.

Risks of Silver Amalgam Fillings

We know that mercury isn’t allowed in our water systems and other parts of the environment, so why is it allowed in our mouths? There have been no scientific studies to show the long-term effects that mercury released from silver amalgam fillings has on the body, but we do know that mercury isn’t safe. The American Dental Association also recognizes that mercury is released into the body when the metal fillings are placed, when a person with metal fillings eats hot food, and when the metal fillings are removed.

Metal-free dentists take a proactive approach to reduce the risk of these oral and overall health problems:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Increased dental sensitivity
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Loss of coordinated movement
  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Impaired walking ability
  • Impaired hearing and speech
  • Muscle fatigue

Safe Alternatives to Metal Fillings

A metal-free dentist will provide biocompatible materials as safe alternatives to metal fillings. These include:


This material is relatively new to dentistry but has gained popularity as a dental material over the past few years. Before being a dental material, zirconia was used as a substitute for diamonds; it is extremely strong, matches the color of natural teeth, is biocompatible, and has low electrical conductivity. Unlike other materials, most patients will likely never have to replace a zirconia filling.

Composite resin

A mixture of tooth-colored plastic and glass, composite fillings are an aesthetically pleasing option. Dentists can create a shade that matches perfectly to your tooth, so only you and your dentist will know it’s a prosthetic! Composite resin fillings don’t change like metal fillings do, so cracking and breaking is less likely. Additionally, composite resin fillings allow patients to keep more of their natural tooth structure.


Also called ceramic fillings, porcelain fillings can restore strength to a decayed tooth. Porcelain fillings bond to the patient’s natural tooth much better than silver fillings and won’t interrupt the appearance of your smile. Unlike metal fillings, porcelain doesn’t expand and contract, so they are less likely to crack over time.

Removing Metal Fillings

If you currently have one or more metal fillings, your natural dentist is here to help! With SMART, he can safely remove the metal from your mouth without harming you, himself, or the dental team.

During the procedure, your dentist will use the following safety precautions:

  • An air filtration system
  • Gowns and covers
  • Masks
  • Latex gloves
  • Face shields
  • A dental dam

To remove the filling, the dentist will use water and air to minimize the amount of mercury released as a vapor. He will reduce the amount of drilling by using a process called chunking which breaks off pieces of the filling so they can be easily removed.

Once the procedure is complete, the dentist and dental team will follow a specific protocol to properly dispose of the mercury-contaminated substances, clothing, and equipment.

Contact Our Metal-Free Dentist Today

To learn more about the services offered by natural and metal-free dentists, call our Bentonville, AR dentist today at (479) 250-4473.

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