Two weeks ago, my dentist placed a porcelain crown on a top right molar tooth. My bite was off, so my dentist ground down in crown in some places. Neither she nor the dental assistant rinsed my mouth. I felt some sandy particles go down my throat. What else could it be other than porcelain powder? Isn’t porcelain glass? I was upset with myself for not asking them to rinse my mouth. Should I be concerned? Thanks. Amari
There aren’t any safety concerns about swallowing porcelain power because porcelain is biocompatible. Although there is some glass in porcelain, it’s not glass. And dental porcelain is made of the following components:
- Feldspar (a mineral)
- Silica (sand)
- Kaolin (clay)
- Some glass (mostly silica)
- Coloring agents
When a dentist grinds down a porcelain crown, the sharpness of the glass particles is reduced. And the particles shouldn’t harm your throat or stomach.
Although ground porcelain isn’t a health concern, it’s unpleasant for you. And it’s bad for a dentist to be negligent and allow you to swallow debris or anything else from a dental procedure. Although dental materials are safe for oral use, they are not designed for swallowoing.
Skilled cosmetic dentists—and all conscientious dentists—use high-volume suction to rinse your mouth and remove debris regularly. What’s left in your mouth should be rinsed and spit or suctioned out. Carelessly leaving stuff behind in your mouth is poor service and a good way to lose your confidence in your dentist’s concern for your comfort and oral health.
The good news is that you’ll be okay. You didn’t mention any past negative experiences with your dentist. But if you continue to experience them in the future, you might want to ask yourself if it’s worth it.
Michael Szarek, DMD, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Lowell, MA, sponsors this post.