Dentist in Dana Point offers tooth replacement with gold restorations
The Throughout history, gold teeth have signified social distinction. That precept continues today in some high-profile professions, such as athletes and musicians. Yet there are many more dental health reasons to consider gold as a tooth replacement option. Dr. Mark Cruz is one of only a few dentists in the Dana Point area with specialized training and expertise in this technique.
What is a gold tooth?
When most people say, “gold tooth,” they are referring to a dental crown restoration. A crown is a cap that encloses natural tooth structure above the gum line, while the tooth’s roots remain intact in the jaw bone.
Crowns are commonly used when a sizeable piece is broken off, or a tooth has a large area of decay. In these situations, there is not enough remaining tooth to support a conventional filling. The restoration would likely fail or the tooth would break. Since a crown encircles the tooth, it provides strength and protection.
A dental implant, on the other hand, really is a replacement tooth for one that is congenitally missing, lost due to disease or trauma, or extracted. The implant is a small screw that becomes integrated into jaw bone, as a substitute for the root of the absent tooth. It is then finished with a crown, and in some cases another type of restoration or prosthetic. Most people are not aware that they can opt for a dental implant restoration crown made of gold.
Is it really gold?
That is a great question, and one you should ask the dentist when you are considering a gold restoration.
While dental materials are regulated by the FDA, a dentist has many choices, though it is not apparent to the patient. Inlays, onlays, crowns, and bridges may contain gold in an alloy of silver, palladium, platinum, and other metals including nickel (even though up to 20 percent of our population has allergy or sensitivity to nickel). In addition, the gold portion of a restoration material may range from 10 to 22 karat.
Hypoallergenic 24 karat pure gold has near-ideal physical characteristics for dental restorations, but it is a little too soft. A blend of gold with other noble, biocompatible metals results in a material with superior strength and durability. It resists corrosion and tarnishing. In addition, it is malleable enough for a trained dentist to expertly shape. Dr. Cruz prefers a “high-noble” 15 to 20 karat gold restoration material. That means your crown is about 40 percent pure gold.
A variety of materials have been used to craft dental crowns in the past including economical stainless and porcelain fused to a metal core. Today solid porcelain or zirconia crowns are popular for their aesthetic value. However, those materials are basically the hardness of glass. Each time you bite down, the opposing tooth is subjected to tremendous strain. That can lead to need for more dental work in the future.
What is it like to live with a gold tooth?
The short answer is that, when the dental work is done properly, you will rarely give it a thought. In most cases, gold is not used for a tooth in the front of the smile. For other teeth at the sides or back of the mouth, a gold restoration is not obvious. A gold partial restoration (inlay or onlay) does not show through enamel the way a gray metal filling does. A full gold crown remains attractively bright, no matter what you eat or drink.
A gold dental crown expands and contracts at a rate very similar to tooth structure. For that reason, the seal of restoration to tooth typically remains strong for many years. Dr. Cruz offers these tips to help you keep your gold crown intact for a long time:
- A gold crown will not chip or fracture. However, tooth structure underneath can break. Avoid biting on very hard objects like ice, pens, or fingernails that might compromise your tooth.
- While the bond is quite strong, you can pull a crown loose with taffy or other sticky candies. Besides, they coat teeth and lead to decay.
- Do you clench, grind, or gnash your teeth during sleep? If so, Dr. Cruz may recommend a custom-fit night guard to cushion jaw joints and protect teeth and restorations.
- Good oral hygiene is the most important step you can take to extend the longevity of your gold crown . . . and your smile. Brush after eating, floss before bedtime, and visit Mark A. Cruz DDS for regular checkups.
Tooth replacement with gold makes good sense in Dana Point, in the experienced hands of Dr. Cruz. Call (949) 661-1006 to book an appointment.