Dental Tips Blog

Mar
3

Mercury-Free Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Amalgam fillings have been used in dentistry for over 100 years, but many people are beginning to question the safety of fillings that contain an alloy of metals, which includes the use of mercury. Technically mercury is not considered to be a health hazard when it is no longer in its liquid state, but the link to some conditions is more than enough evidence for some people to avoid its use completely. One theory is that as silver fillings age, they begin to leak material into the tooth, including mercury.

Wonderful alternatives to silver fillings are tooth-colored fillings made of composite resin. The composite material is completely free of metal, including mercury, and is also the same color of tooth enamel. It can be used to treat new cavities, or to replace existing amalgam fillings. Composite fillings are smaller and less invasive than silver fillings, because the material bonds with porous tooth enamel. This means that a composite filling can be placed in areas that metal fillings cannot, benefitting the patient when other types of treatments were previously not available. Tooth colored fillings come in a variety of shades, allowing the material to match very closely to the shade of the tooth. It is similar to the shade selection process used in dental crowns and bridges.

Removal of metal mercury fillings is fairly simple. The dentist will also utilize a trap system to prevent residue from the amalgam filling entering into the environment, so that it can be disposed of properly. Careful steps should be taken to protect the patient during removal of the filling, so be sure to ask your dentist what procedures they use when they are performing mercury-filling removal.

Posted on behalf of Dan Myers

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Jan
27

Should I Have My Metal Fillings Replaced?

Posted in Fillings

In the past, dental cavities were filled with amalgam, which was a filling material made with several metals, including mercury.  Although effective there are a number of drawbacks to these fillings, especially when compared to the composite resin filling material being used today.

First amalgam fillings contain mercury, which is generally considered a hazardous material.  Although he jury is still out on the long-term effects of these fillings, it is generally accepted that mercury is not a product that should be in a person’s body!  These fillings are also subject to failure, including breaking and cracking.  Obviously, a filling that fails can expose a tooth to further decay.

Finally, when a person with amalgam fillings speaks, the fillings are often visible, due to their metallic appearance.  As a result, more and more dentists are recommending to their patients that amalgam fillings be replaced with a composite resin filling, which contains no metals, is durable and are virtually invisible.

The safe and environmentally correct removal of amalgam fillings is not a straightforward dental procedure, as the dental team, as well as the patient, needs to be protected from any mercury vapors generated during the removal process.  In addition, specialized metal mercury filling removal techniques are required to reduce the creation of vapors.  Once the metal filling is removed, the dentist will need to dispose of the filling appropriately.  It is not as simple as flushing it down the toilet, since mercury is considered a hazardous material.

At your next dental checkup, speak with your dentist about your amalgam fillings and see what he recommends!

Posted on behalf of Dan Myers

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