Anyone who had seen the Bond villain Jaws in The Spy Who Loved me would remember those metal teeth. While Jaws would eventually work into someone’s nightmare, imagining those deadly teeth sinking into the side of her neck, not unlike Dracula, dentists who’d watched the same movie would probably think of the implications of how to bond (forgive the pun) bridges, dentures, braces and implants into Mr Jaws.
Metal in Dentistry
In history, gold crowns were a fashion statement. It was a status symbol to have gold teeth. The trend today is to match the colour of crowns to the colour of your other teeth. These days dental amalgam is the most common type of filling used in teeth. Silver-coloured amalgam consists of a mixture of silver, copper, tin and mercury. Other choices available are porcelain, zirconia, resin and even stainless steel. These are often used in children’s teeth to help preserve crowns of primary teeth, AKA baby teeth.
Dentists all over the world had been struggling to find the perfect bonding agent for decades. One doesn’t have to be a metallurgist to know that bonding metal to enamel can be a nightmare. Complaints about broken or detached braces are common enough to show that metal bonding adhesives are vital in dentistry.
If Jaws needed braces, a dentist would probably be looking at something from http://www.ct1ltd.com/product-applications/metal-to-metal-adhesive/. It would need to be something strong but flexible – a glue that would not be soluble in oral fluids, something odourless and user-friendly. But above all, the dentist would need something that works fast. Failing would not be an option.
Different cements are used in different dental work. Not all are the same, because the needs of each must be addressed before deciding which type to use. Does the patient grind his teeth? If so, a stronger mix of cement is called for. Is it a temporary fixture? Then cement that is easily broken will be required. Some cements bond stainless steel but not ceramic. So if the patient is being prepped for a porcelain crown, using the wrong cement can result in a fracture in due course.
Whatever you and your dentist decide upon, it is important to remember that you need to look after your teeth, because in old age they would look after you.