Ever heard of the word Galvanism or Galvinism? This name stems from the work of Luigi Galvani, the Italian scientist. A phenomenon that refers to the electrical current produced by the interaction of ions when various metals come in contact with each other.
This is an important concept in the field of dentistry. Dental galvanism may occasionally occur when dissimilar metals used in teeth fillings come in contact. This is especially true when individuals chew or clench their teeth.
In modern dentistry, there is a wide array of materials used. One of the most commonly known restorations is silver amalgam fillings. As silver is a major component of these dental fillings, many other metals are included in their composition to enhance strength, ease of handling and stability. Definitive crowns (which are also called caps) can be made of silver, gold, palladium, nickel or other alloys.
While Galvanism is usually not an issue between adjacent teeth on the same arch, this manifestation occurs when teeth with restorations composed of dissimilar metals on opposite arches come in contact. Though this is a rare occurrence, you will find it quite striking should it happen to you.
Over the years, patients often describe the sensation of Galvanism to chewing on tin foil or, in more extreme cases, like experiencing electric shock radiating within the oral cavity. The current produced in dental Galvanism is propagated through the restoration in question directly to the nerve of the tooth. While it is not a serious situation with long-term health consequences, therefore, patients should take heed about these things.
You may be wondering what can be done when you have a sensation as a result of Galvanism in your oral cavity. The dental practitioner can provide some options to correct this problem in your mouth. If a stainless steel provisional crown is the culprit, it can be remade with acrylic or other temporary materials to resolve this issue. Occasionally, you will need to have a replacement situated with another kind of material or the restoration type. If the situation occurs due to two crowned teeth touching in your bite as the offending circumstance, either one or the other will need to be replaced.
This, however, has been very rare in dental clinics, even when you ask around, most dentists have never personally had to replace a crown because of Galvanism. The reason being, there are excess of crowns than not that are made with metals have porcelain baked onto them for beauty purposes, and those that are fully metal for areas where your bite might predispose overlying porcelain to fracture are customarily made of gold and so are compatible with each other.
In conclusion, diagnosis is the first step to correcting signs and symptoms of galvanism within the oral cavity. Patients should be educated enough to identify the electrifying sensation in the mouth and seek professional consult.