I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
Have you ever experienced a shock, or a strange sensation when you bite down? Have you ever experienced the feeling of chewing on tin foil, even when there was no metal in the food you were eating? If you have ever had any of these experiences and you have traditional amalgam fillings or crowns, you may have experienced dental galvanism. This can be really painful, or it may just feel really strange. Either way it can be uncomfortable, especially if it is happening often. The good news is you do not have to live with it forever. There is a simple way to eliminate this condition.
What Is Dental Galvanism?
There has been many different metals used in dental work over the years. While silver has been the traditional material used in traditional amalgams, other restorations such as crowns or onlays may have used gold, palladium, nickel, and even stainless steel. Dental galvanism occurs when electrical currents are produced in your mouth by the different metallic materials which have been used in your dental work, come in contact with each other.
This usually happens when you touch a traditional amalgam filling with your eating utensil, or when you have multiple restorations which come into contact with each other when you chew. If this current is high enough, it can cause an irritation to your dental pulp, which in turn will result in pain, or the strange sensation you may have experienced.
Dental galvanism can damage the health of your tooth by increasing the corrosion process, as well as releasing an increase of mercury into your mouth. Some people also experience additional symptoms. They are:
In severe cases, patients may also experience headaches, sleep deprivation, chronic fatigue, vertigo, memory loss, and more.
How To Detect Dental Galvanism
If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be related to the metals that are in your mouth, ask your dentist to check to see if you experiencing dental galvanism. Checking is easy to do. The current in your mouth can actually be measured, and treatment can be developed based on the amount of current which is found.
Ways To Avoid Or Eliminate Dental Galvanism
There are numerous ways that your dentist can avoid or eliminate this dental problem. The location of the metal in your mouth, along with how severe your issue is, may dictate some of the treatment options that your dentist may offer.
The easiest way to eliminate dental galvanism is to simply file down, or make a slight adjustment to one of the restorations that is involved. A slight adjustment can keep it from coming into contact with the metal or or in the opposing tooth. If the two teeth involved have full crowns, one of the crowns may need to be replaced with a porcelain crown, or a crown made from some other type of material.
This condition can be repaired, or avoided completely by choosing tooth colored fillings when you are having your teeth repaired. These fillings do not contain the silver, or other types of metals which cause dental galvanism. While these fillings traditionally do not last as long as traditional amalgams, there are other advantages to using them.
If you have to have dental work done, or are having dental work in the future, ask your dentist about using tooth colored fillings to complete your work. This may keep you from ever having to experience dental galvanism.