The inert qualities, strength and durability of gold makes it one of the most
biocompatible filling materials in regards to  tooth structure.

Although it is may not be too esthethic and in demand from today’s very ,vane society,
it is still the ideal treatment of choice in large restorations that are indicted for
placement in posterior teeth.

In the forties and fifties the gold foil was a filling material used quite frequently
in the anterior teeth  simply because there was not any durable white filling materials
available.

The disadvantage of gold foil was the cost and the length of time required to place
it in a tooth. An average gold foil restoration in an anterior tooth would take approximately
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on its size the skill of the dentisist placing the filling.

The advantage of a well placed gold foil restoration was its long,lasting durability.
They have been known to last 30 to 40 years or more.

You might ask the question, why would anyone want a gold filling in a front tooth?
It was the treatment of choice if you could afford it and in those days showing some
gold in your front teeth was considered  a status symbol of wealth and well being.

In fact, in Europe, Mexico and other latin American countries, dentists  have been
known to cover a perfectly healthy front tooth with gold leaf as a status of wealth.

 I know this was true because I had on two occasions in my dental practice, the opportunity
to remove this type of gold restoration from two young women from Europe who had decided
that they no longer wanted to show a gold front tooth.

Much to my surprise,when I removed the gold swedge crown, the tooth underneath was perfectly
normal. After cleaning off the cement that had been used to place it, these patients 
 left my office  extremely happy with their own a very nice natural front tooth .

Covering the front tooth with gold or some other type of non-precious metal is still
being done  not only in Mexico and Europe but also in the United States of America .

Obviously it is not the treatment of choice from an appearance point of view but I have
noticed on many occasions, that some Afro -Americans seem to like having this type of
front tooth coverage with either gold or some other non precious metal.

The so called gold inlay or onlay are still very much in demand. They take longer
to prepare and obviously cost more than your average amalgam restoration.That said,
they are also more durable and last longer than other types of filling materials used
for posterior teeth.

A gold inlay (inside of)refers to a one or more surface restoration that is supported
entirely within  the walls of solid tooth structure.

An gold onlay ( on top of) refers to a much, larger more than one surface restoration 
that covers one or more of the chewing surfaces of the tooth involved. 

Although these types of restorations cost more, they usually last for years providing they
are well made and well cared for by the patient.

I know from a personal experience that inlays and onlays do last because I had several
done in dental school in the early sixties and they are still present and look as good as
the day they were placed.

If esthetics or appearance is not an issue, a gold onlay or inlay is highly recommended

for their longevity and  durability due to their edge strength, crushing strength
and biocompatibility.

If you have any questions at all regarding these types of restorations mentioned in this
blog, please do not hesitate to ask.

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