stop sign near mercuryAs one would expect, a metal-free dentist is one who does not use metal in any procedures or treatments. What many people don’t understand is why these dentists choose to be metal-free. These dentists are also referred to as natural dentists and holistic dentists. Their goal is to help patients gain and maintain good oral health without negatively impacting the patients’ overall health.

In traditional dental practices, metal is most commonly used in silver amalgam fillings. The presence of mercury in these fillings is what makes them dangerous to a person’s overall health.

Continue reading to learn the risks of metal in dentistry and the alternative materials that metal-free dentists use.

Risks of Metal Fillings

It’s no secret that mercury is a dangerous chemical element to humans. Despite being toxic, it is useful. However, it should never be used to treat dental or medical problems. Mercury exposure can be linked to these oral and overall health problems:

  • Dental sensitivity
  • Nervousness and/or anxiety
  • Mood changes
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Impaired ability to walk
  • Impaired speech and hearing
  • Tingling in the hands and feet

The more silver amalgam fillings a person has, the higher the risk of these health issues. Metal-free dentists take a proactive approach by eliminating the use of this toxic material in their practices.

Metal-Free Dentist Alternatives to Metal Fillings

Biocompatible materials are substances that are not harmful to the body. Dentists use the following material to replace traditional metal fillings:


Porcelain, also called ceramic, is an extremely durable alternative dental material. It is the most expensive dental material but may help save patients money in the long run. It is often recommended for fillings in the back teeth because of the amount of pressure they endure.


A mixture of plastics and glass, composite resin has become the preferred choice of filling. This is due to its aesthetic appeal as well as its safety. Composite resin fillings have a more natural appearance and will not cause the surrounding teeth to become discolored. Additionally, this material allows patients to retain more of their natural tooth structure than a metal filling does. This means the tooth maintains its strength.


Zirconia is one of the newest dental materials. It is an extremely strong and natural-looking material. It actually used to be a substitute for diamonds! Like ceramic, zirconia will most likely never need to be replaced.

Removing Metal Fillings

Already have silver amalgam fillings in your mouth? Metal-free dentists offer safe amalgam removal for patients seeking to improve the health and appearance of their teeth. The dentist adheres to a technique called SMART which includes:

  • Various safety precautions
  • Applying water and air to minimize the release of mercury
  • Removal of the filling by chunking
  • Proper disposal of the mercury-contaminated substances, clothing, and equipment

The dentist can help you decide which safe material to replace your metal filling with. Be sure to ask about the pros and cons of each option.

Our Metal-Free Dentist

Dr. Derrick Johnson offers the latest, safest treatments combined with traditional, effective techniques. He is proud to offer natural and holistic dentistry to the people of Bentonville, AR and the surrounding areas. To learn more about the services we offer, call (479) 250-4473 today.

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