Even as we speak, the world is working to phase out metal amalgam fillings. But two dental technologies–braces and dentures–that are contemporary with metal amalgam fillings or much older remain widely in use. Why is it that some dental technologies fade away while others remain in use? There are four big reasons.

First, Do No Harm

Dentists are doctors that are committed to the welfare of their patients. If they feel that a dental technology is harming their patients, they don’t want to use it. For metal amalgam fillings, we still don’t have positive proof that there is real harm, but there are enough hints that dentists and patients alike are beginning to feel uncomfortable with them.

On the other hand, neither dentures nor braces result in harm to patients. There is an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay when wearing braces, but with proper care these risks are small.

Effective Treatments

Metal braces are more effective than Invisalign when the teeth need a lot more workOne thing that sets braces and dentures apart is that they are truly effective treatments that do everything that is asked of them. Dentures give people without teeth a fully functional replacement set. Even if the replacement teeth aren’t quite as effective as your natural teeth, they are nonetheless good ones that can do most of what you need them to do.

Braces, though, are in many ways the best orthodontic option. They are very predictable and can perform tooth movements that other orthodontic treatments can’t. Because they work so well, it’s likely we will continue to use them long into the future.

No Real Alternative

The death knell of metal amalgam fillings sounded when we developed true alternatives for them. There are many different kinds of tooth-colored fillings that can be used, and all of them can really replace metal amalgam fillings in essentially every way, with the possible exception of cost.

But although we have alternatives to braces and dentures, we don’t have alternatives that do everything they can. Invisalign and the Inman Aligner, for example, can’t do what braces can do for your teeth.

And although dental implants are a great tooth replacement option, not everyone is a candidate, whereas virtually anyone is a candidate for dentures.


But probably the most important reason why these technologies stay around is that they themselves are getting better. We’re partly looking at changes in implementation as in Six Month Smiles or FOY Dentures™, The Denture Fountain of Youth™, but the truth is that braces and dentures are not technologies that are standing still. This is unlike metal amalgam fillings, which, other than some minor tweaking in the chemical composition, were really unchanged since the 1800s.

Many dentists eagerly embrace new technologies without fully evaluating their benefit. They market newness and pass the cost on to patients.

At Rice Dentistry, we always use the best technology for our patients, whether it’s a new technology or an old one. To learn what is the best technology to solve your dental problem, please call (949) 551-5902 for an appointment with an Orange County cosmetic dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.