Five Yr Old Crowns on Teeth Having Concerns with the Metal

Updated on August 31, 2010
T.P. asks from Madison, WI
8 answers

My son just turned five and had his front top four teeth pulled at the pediatric dentist. They also capped all of his back teeth (don't know why because they were just fine, no cavities) He had fake teeth in the front wired to his back, etc. (this was done at age 3 1/2 or so) Well, the fake teeth looked great but they came out not too long ago for the first time, they just fell out onto the floor and I examined them and the silver part looked rusted and there were black spots...there were also little silver pieces that came off which I have in a plastic baggy.

It really scared me. I have no idea what this is and my son has more than likely ingested this metal material. So since then, I haven't had the fake teeth put back in his mouth in fear of him ingesting the silvery material. I then recently looked closer at his silver/stainless steel crowns and they look just like the if they're rotted partially or something. I'm taking him to the pediatrician tomorrow to have him tested for possible metal in his system or something...

The dentist said it's normal and not to worry but I don't think it's normal or healthy to swallow that stuff. I wish all that unnecessary metal could be removed but they would have to put him out for surgery again...does anyone know anything about the dangers of this stuff? What should I do?

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So What Happened?

Marda, thank you for your thoughts...I have researched the metal caps and they are a mixed metal including nickel. Gold used to be used But due to NHS cuts dentists are increasingly using mixtures of cheaper metals including nickel, which is believed to cause cancer. It can also cause life-long allergies leading to inflammation of the gums and sometimes the rest of the body. Which is why a growing number of scientists are demanding that nickel be banned from dentistry.

Papers read at 18 scientific conferences and printed in 15 specialist journals have warned against nickel in the mouth, he added. Recent estimates show that between 10 and 15 per cent of women and two per cent of men develop life-long allergic reactions to nickel. Many are caused by tooth crowns which contain up to 60 per cent of the metal.

I don't believe for one second that all of his back teeth needed the crowns. They put my son in surgery and made that decision during the surgery. All of his back teeth were in good condition, not one cavity...there was a tiny bit of decay which could have easily been handled with a filling. He said they put them on due to preventive measures (Now I think it had a lot more to do with the money) The front teeth had decay because I breastfed my son until he was two. He had regular dental visits and I also brushed his teeth every day and night.

His bottom front teeth as well as all of his back teeth were in good condition. The crowns/caps were not put on to hold the fake teeth because I had to request those after the surgery was over. The dentist didn't even suggest them. they only suggest them with back teeth. So, I decided to meet with a metal free dentist. There are three of them where I live.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I love a product called Metal Systox ($16) and there are also heavy metal detoxs out there that are homeopathic, one is Metex ($18) and another is Metal Free ($90-140).

I would find a different dentist, at least for a 2nd opinion.

Good for you, for being aware of the potential dangers of these metals!

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answers from Boise on

I don't know but I have posted other dental questions at Mamapedia and after all the responses I have, I have learned that dentists are like auto-mechanics. Some overcharge and rip you off and lie about what needs to be done to your teeth, and others are more honest. Baby teeth don't need to be capped. I have heard that it is normal for the caps to fall out as the kids mouth and teeth grow and change in size. Right now, I am having my kids swish with floride every night and am putting them on supplements, and sterilizing their toothbrushes frequently rather than having 9000 small cavities filled by their pediatric dentist. I got a 2nd opinion and then a 3rd, and my gut is telling me that none of them want to disagree with each other, because the 2nd and 3rd opinions were both extremely vague, and when I pressed for more info, one dentist said he already shredded my information, and the other said that he wasn't a pediatric dentist (like what does that have to do with looking at x-rays?)
So I am extremely disillusioned with the entire dental community right now!!! Sorry for the rant but I think you need to be more careful what you let them do to your kids mouth.

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answers from Portland on

If you don't know what the metal is there is no way to know if it's dangerous to swallow. I suggest that stainless steel is not toxic and if it's stainless in the bridge and pieces have broken off I suggest it's because it was worn out.

My grandson has a couple of metal crowns. I have a couple of porcelain crowns toward the front of my mouth but there is metal underneath. The back crowns have to be entirely metal to withstand the force of chewing. The only alternative to stainless steel, which I think is what they use, is gold. Gold crowns are very expensive. Because of the expense, they do not use gold on baby teeth. Metal for crowns have been used for years; probably a century or so and I don't think anyone has found that they are toxic.

Amalgam fillings are now thought to be toxic but those are very much different than crowns.

If you don't take him to the dentist at least every 6 months or so, I suggest that the reason the bridge fell out is because not only did he outgrow it but it also wore out. It is extremely important that a new bridge be put in so that his permanent teeth will come in straight.

He did need crowns on at least the front two molars to hold the bridge which are his fake front teeth. If his front teeth were pulled because they had cavities or were rotten then the back teeth would also have had cavities. Ask the dentist why he crowned the rest?

Please relax while you research to get more info. Good to take him to see the pediatrician but I'd suggest that his dentist would be a better choice. The dentist knows what the metal is made of and whether or not it's toxic. Once you know what the metal is you can look it up on the Internet and find out for yourself if it's likely to hurt your son. I

If you're concerned about his swallowing pieces of something, we all, at one time or another have swallowed metal pieces. Babies and toddlers put everything in their mouths. The metal goes thru the digestive track and out in the feces. Only heavy metals such as lead can be toxic when breathed into the lungs where they stay and contaminate the rest of the body thru the blood system. When lead is swallowed, the doctor does sometimes take an x-ray to be sure that it does pass thru. But small pieces of stainless will not harm your son. They are long gone, if he swallowed them at all.

In the meantime, do not panic. I've yet to hear of anyone, child or adult, to be harmed by the metal in a bridge. My mother had one all of her adult life and had to replace it several times. The bridge caused her no health issues.

Also, you do have to be careful with a bridge. If your son was using those face teeth to bite down on things, say an apple or a toy car, the bridge will break and that may be what has caused the small pieces. Please call the dentist and tell him your concerns. I suggest that the pediatrician will want to know what type of metal it is, also. I doubt that they can run a test unless they know what it is

Do you brush your son's teeth or see that he does twice/day? The black spots could be corrosion from the food acids left in his mouth. Regular dental care to include twice daily brushing is essential for healthy teeth and thus a healthy body. By caring for his teeth daily, he will most likely have healthy permanent teeth within a few years and the metal will be gone.

I reread your post and saw that you have talked with the dentist who told you that it's normal. Why do you not believe him? Why do you think that the metal is bad for your son? His teeth are not healthy. Do you know why he had to have his front teeth pulled? Do you have a solution for fixing his teeth if he has no metal in his mouth? Are you willing for him to grow up without teeth because he doesn't have metal in his mouth. Compare the results of having metal and no metal. Which is the "worst of two evils." I call them evils because you think metal is a bad way to go and the alternative is growing up with poor teeth or no teeth at all. His permanent ones can rot while under the gum and all of his teeth but especially his front teeth will grow in crooked without baby teeth, crown, or a bridge to hold the space for the permanent teeth.

After your So What Happened, T.: Wow! this response is so different then the way the question was worded. You obviously have done some research and know more than I do about metals and dentists. In your question you said you didn't know what the metal was. If you'd named the "stuff" my answer might have have been different. After your What Happened, I wonder why you aren't more knowledgeable about the causes for the caps on his molars. You sound, now, like the sort of person who does ask good questions and makes informed decisions.

Did you ask why the caps and wait until you got an answer that you understood. I wonder how you can be so sure that there weren't any cavities that would cause the need to cap his teeth. A tiny bit of decay can cover a large amount of decay beneath the enamel. Also, some of us are born with really soft enamel. If your son has this condition they should have talked with you and gained your permission before doing this.

Oh, well. I'm glad that you're going to a metal free dentist. I didn't know there were such dentists either.

Obviously you don't trust the one who did the work. Perhaps that's why you're so scared now. Have you tried asking, with an open mind, for the reasons behind the answers? If all that you describe is true without adequate explanations that would cause other dentists to agree with the decision, then you may have grounds for a law suit. Apparently, what is happening to you and your son is much more complex then anything with which I've had experience. I've found that conditions such as you describe are usually caused by bottle mouth and were documented by me and a dentist. My grandson has capped teeth and 3 fillings because he was given too much candy and has multiple caretakers due to a divorce and his teeth were not adequately brushed nor was he taken often enough to the dentist. I'm glad your son is an exception. However, I still go back to the weak enamel suggestion.

I would rely on the metal free dentist's recommendation. I doubt that any of us have sufficient personal experience or knowledge about metal and it's effect on your son's health to know how to advise you. I suggest that the fact that he will be loosing those teeth in the next few years might make a difference in the level of concern over toxicity. I suggest you also have to factor in the possible long term effects of general anesthesia and in disturbing his teeth and gums.

I wish you the best as you work this out. Your post has caused me to do some research for my own dental work. Thanks for posting it.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Glad you have done your research on the metal and found out all that info. But I curious why you think breastfeeding for 2 years caused his tooth issues.I know lots of people who breastfeed that long and their children have no tooth issues. The more likely scenario is that he was born with soft enamel. There are several reasons that can happen. The most common is the mother having a calcium or folic acid deficiency while pregnant. That is what happened to me as a baby. The docs did't catch it until my mom's second child. So I had tons of cavities in my baby teeth while my brother and sister had almost none. But my adult teeth grew in normal.There are also genetic conditions that cause soft enamel and in that situation the adult teeth will also have issues...but this is extremely rare.

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answers from Omaha on

Dateline or somebody did a story on pediatricians that do unnecessary dental work on children. I think you found one them. That is insane that he put caps on the teeth of a 5 year old. Why on earth would they pull his teeth? Were they baby teeth that needed to come out anyway on their own? That just all sounds crazy to me.



answers from Savannah on

I can't help you with the metal issue, but I suggest you find a new dentist for him ASAP!! My ped dentist did a bunch of unnecessary stuff to my teeth which not only put me in a fear of dentist growing up but I have tooth sensitivity in my bottom front teeth from them being pulled out too soon and the novocaine wasn't set in yet and I felt 3 out of 4 getting pulled!! The one was loose. They never let my mom in the back with me so they could come out and tell her I need this that and the other and she would agree. Both my kids go to the same dentist I go to and I make all 3 of our cleanings back to back. And I know that if I did make separate appointments for them, I would be allowed to be back there with them. My dentist doesn't use the silver fillings anymore either. They say that they don't last as long as the tooth colored ones.

I took my 4yr old son in to see about capping his two front upper teeth because they chip easily. He grinds his lower teeth behind them and it has thinned out his teeth. He wants to leave them in for as long as possible and said a Ped dentist would just pull them and call it a day.

Listen to your gut!!

Good luck



answers from Madison on

You have to be very leery of dentists overall. Some of them, I swear, are just in it for the money.

My daughter and I used to go to a dentist who, just about every time we went, always "found" one or two teeth in my daughter that needed to be filled. Now, I know she took a lot of pharma drugs when she was little for ear infections--that was before I became educated about the dangers of pharma drugs and started using alternative medicine treatments. But that many fillings? It got to the point where when we went in for our appointment, we had to pay our bill before we could leave. Yes, even before they sent any paperwork to our insurance company. At that point, I paid the bill (after I contested the amount, because the dentist decided two of the fillings for my daughter weren't needed after all) and then left that clinic and went to a private dentist my husband was seeing.

We are grateful to have made the change. The new dentist refuses to cap, fill, or pull anything that doesn't need to be done. He removed all of my mercury fillings and replaced them with safe composite, and he has agreed that any of my daughter's teeth will have no metal put into them (we tested positive for heavy metal toxicity). Thankfully, of the fillings she did get as a child, they were only in her baby teeth, so going forward, any cavities in her adult permanent teeth will be free of metals. Our dentist even went so far as to note in our records what our food allergies and intolerances are. So yes, he's very concerned about making sure we get the best possible treatment.



answers from Milwaukee on

My son has a number of dental issues. I took him to two different pediatric dentists before I found my current one, who is Dr. Post at Children's in Milwaukee. He is just wonderful. He is also current on the latest in the field because he is at a teaching hospital. I believe there is also a teaching hospital for dentists in Madison - you might want to check that out, they will be current and be able to address your concerns.

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