Your Dental Crown May Be Dangerous
Metal Is Durable, But Can Be Harmful
CLEVELAND, 11:17 a.m. EST March 1, 2001 -- If the dentist
tells you that you need a crown or bridge, the first question is,
how much it is going to cost?
But it may be better to consider what is in that crown, and
if it is safe.
Before a crown ever enters your mouth, it is created at a dental
laboratory, where it's cast, and then shaped to precision. The metal
may be gold, or it could be non-precious and contain 1 - 2 percent
beryllium. This variety is hard and durable, but dangerous if the
dust gets into lungs.
"There is no reason in the world we should be working with
beryllium at all," Tom Muzic of the Universal Dental Studio says.
Muzic says that there are safer alternatives that don't put his
staff at risk, but they're five times more expensive, NewsChannel5
And there is plenty of pressure to keep dental costs down.
"With the entrance of insurance industry, sometimes practioners
are forced to make decisions on economics alone," dentist Terrence
Like Muzic, Messerman has made the decision never to use
beryllium. But a recent survey conducted by the consumer watchdog
group Citizen Action found that a number of dental labs in this area
do use beryllium, and many were unaware of the potential hazard to
the lungs of workers.
"What I'm looking for is a quick solution to a dangerous
problem," Amy Ryder of Ohio Citizen Action tells NewsChannel5.
Citizen Action wants beryllium producers like Brush
Wellman to stop supplying the dental industry. The company chose
not to be interviewed for this story, but says it's proactive in
communicating the potential health hazards.
Opponents argue that communication is not necessarily getting to
the person most at risk.
The American Dental Association
endorses nickle-beryllium as a dental alloy.
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