Are Gold Teeth Safe? Advantages/Disadvantages To Using Gold In Your Mouth

Have you been thinking about adding a permanent gold tooth to your look? Or perhaps you need some dental work and gold onlays are one of the options you are considering. You may like the look, but you’re worried about the long-term effects of having gold in your mouth. That’s completely natural.

Are gold crowns/onlays/grillz safe? The answer is yes, but with a few small exceptions. Read on further to find out what these are.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Gold In Your Mouth?

There are many positives associated with using gold including:

  • Highly resistant to corrosion or breakage as compared to other less expensive materials
  • Significantly improves the structural integrity and overall health of a damaged tooth
  • Don’t need to remove much of the remaining tooth to ensure its overall strength – the strength of gold is such that even just a little can greatly increase fracture resistance
  • Gold seals snugly around the tooth to the point where additional decay is very unlikely
  • Very gentle on the surrounding teeth

What Are The Disadvantages?

Wow, gold crowns and teeth sound amazing! However, there are some drawbacks to putting gold in your mouth. These include:

  • The overall look may be too jarring for some people and you might decide you don’t look the look after a while.
  • Gold is pretty expensive as a material for dental work, definitely more so than many other materials
  • Cheaper gold appliances may contain more of a nickel alloy which could be problematic for some people.
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What’s The Problem With Nickel Alloy In A Gold Dental Implant?

It is worth noting that crowns, dental bridges, and other gold appliances sometimes also contain nickel, a silvery-white metal that can trigger an allergic reaction ins some people. According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the global population is allergic to nickel. That said, individuals who have a nickel allergy should speak with their dentist about the possibility of using a gold dental appliance that does not contain nickel.

Although the cost will likely be higher, most dental appliances can be made from pure gold alone or a combination of gold and a high noble alloy. According to the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs, gold dental appliances made with a high noble alloy will consist of at least 60 percent noble metal, which can include palladium, platinum, osmium, iridium, ruthenium, or rhodium, and 40 percent gold. A similar combination is also ideal for those who prefer gold over amalgam or composite material to have a cavity filled.

Metal Allergies and Gold Teeth

Individuals who are allergic to gold dental appliances that contain nickel will usually encounter the following symptoms:

  • Burning mouth syndrome
  • Cheilitis
  • Gingivitis
  • Perioral dermatitis
  • Stomatitis
  • Lichenoid reaction

On a side note, some of these same symptoms can also be caused by a gold grill, which is a type of decorative dental jewelry that some individuals wear over their natural teeth.

How Much Do Gold Crowns Cost?

If you don’t have any dental insurance, the average cost of a gold crown can set you back $2,500 per tooth. Note that this is 2x – 3x more expensive than porcelain crowns.

With dental insurance, the cost of your gold crown will depend on a number of factors that include the type of crown you choose, your location and the dentist doing the work (expect to pay far more in higher-end urban settings), the quality of your dental plan and how much they cover, the extent of the damage to your tooth, and your overall oral health.

For more information about the cost of gold teeth, check out our article on How Much Do Permanent Gold Teeth Cost?

What Are Other Options Besides Gold For Dental Appliances?

Many folks needing dental work will choose more natural-looking materials for crowns or tooth replacement. These materials include:

  • Porcelain
  • Ceramic

Should Keep Your Gold Teeth?

Assuming your gold dental appliances are not causing an allergic reaction or jeopardizing your oral health, the decision to keep them or replace them with traditional dental appliances will likely come down to personal taste. In some cases, individuals will replace their gold dental appliances with traditional ones when life calls for something a bit more understated, such as a new job, getting married, or attending a family reunion, for example.

Of course, if your gold dental appliances are causing any of the symptoms detailed in this article, it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a dentist who can recommend an appropriate non-gold replacement. The same also applies if you decide that you would rather have dental appliances that blend seamlessly with your natural teeth, such as those made with porcelain fused to metal.

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