If you’ve ever gone to the dentist to have a cavity addressed, there’s a chance you may have a mercury amalgam filling. Made of metals such as tin, silver, copper, and mercury, these fillings were among the first types of materials used to repair cavities. In the time since their creation, however, dentistry has come a long way. Tooth-colored composite fillings are metal free and are considered a better alternative to mercury amalgam for the following reasons. And even newer yet, flowable ceramic composites are now available which contain no plastic or bps, and is the preferred material used by Station Dental.
Dentists can match composite fillings to the color of your surrounding natural teeth. Mercury amalgam fillings, on the other hand, are usually silver in color and are, thus, immediately noticeable when speaking and laughing. The result of having your metal filling replaced with a composite solution is a much less noticeable and often virtually invisible restoration. This is especially desirable for teeth toward the front of the mouth. Amalgam fillings may also stain the healthy tooth structure around the filling itself, giving your tooth a gray hue.
While the materials in mercury fillings are certainly strong, composite fillings are actually more durable. The composite material is bonded to the tooth to provide extra support, acting like a pot-hole filling versus an attachment. Thus, they create a more even distribution of force and may last longer than mercury fillings. It’s also very common for decay to build underneath an old filling, and x-rays don’t show what’s hidden beneath metal. If you’ve already had your metal filling for nearly a decade, you’ll likely be due for a replacement soon anyhow, so talk to your dentist about a tooth-colored alternative.
The FDA has deemed mercury fillings safe for people aged 6 and older. Yet, they also note that dental amalgam does release low levels of mercury, which is poisonous to humans and can have adverse effects on some of the body’s organs. Moreover, mercury reacts to temperature changes, so fillings may expand or contract when eating hot or cold foods, potentially leading to tooth fractures. Composite resins don’t contain any mercury and, therefore, avoid these issues altogether. Station Dental strongly recommends removal of all mercury amalgam fillings and replacement with a clean, healthy flowable ceramic composite for a whole body approach to your oral health.