1601 River Drive
Suite 300, Moline, IL 61265
(309) 277-3480
Beautiful Smile Makeovers, Advanced General Dentistry
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Moline Metal-Free Dentist

Historically, metals have been the foundation of all dental restorations. But, recent advances in technology have allowed for high-strength restorations with no metal in them. One of the most recent advances has been the introduction of the high-strength ceramics zirconia and lithium disilicate in dental crowns.

Why Metal-Free Dentistry?

Porcelain has been used to give crowns a natural appearance. Originally, pure porcelain was used. While very aesthetic, porcelain jacket crowns, as they were called, were so weak they would crack under function, so their use was very limited. In the 1950s, technology was developed to bond the porcelain to a metal core. This made the crown strong enough even to serve on molars under very high stress. To keep the metal from showing through the translucent porcelain, an opaque layer was put over the metal. This made re-creating the translucency of natural teeth very difficult. Additionally, these crowns tend to show a dark line at the gumline where the margin of the crown is. Even when this margin is placed under the gums, as the gums recede this dark line will end up being visible. You can see in the photograph below on the left four of these porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns on front teeth.

Person smiling showing their top and bottom teeth, shows 11 bottom teeth and 13 top teeth.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns
Person smiling and showing their top front teeth, showing 11 teeth
Crowns replaced with metal-free crowns






Then, in the 1980s, technology was developed to bond the porcelain directly to the teeth. The result, while not as strong as porcelain fused to metal, is strong enough for crowns in most clinical situations, and the result is so highly aesthetic that it is nearly impossible to tell a high-quality crown from a natural tooth.

New High-Strength Ceramics

More recently, we have seen the introduction of two new high-strength ceramics, zirconia and lithium disilicate. Dr. Goebel uses these on crowns and avoids the use of any metal in tooth restorations. For an explanation of these materials and how they are used in various clinical situations, please see our porcelain crowns page.

People are becoming more concerned lately about possible sensitivity to metals in their mouth. For example, some porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns have nickel in them, and an estimated 10-20% of people are allergic to nickel. Beryllium and chromium are two other metals that can be used in dental restorations that can cause sensitivity in some people.

Metal-Free Fillings

Dr. Goebel also prefers the metal-free fillings, and hasn’t done a silver amalgam filling since dental school. People are especially concerned over the 50% mercury content of these “silver” fillings. Dr. Goebel prefers metal-free composite restorations because:

  • They bond to the tooth, weakened portions of the tooth can be left intact and just bonded to the filling, meaning that less natural tooth structure has to be removed.
  • They strengthen the tooth against later fracture.
  • They look natural.

Are you interested in metal-free dentistry? Dr. Goebel will be happy to meet with you for a consultation. Just call our office or visit our request an appointment page.