Dental Tips Blog


Are Metal Fillings Poisonous?

Posted in Fillings

Metal fillings were used in dentistry for decades before we started to understand the risks of mercury exposure. Interestingly, mercury is a key ingredient in silver amalgam fillings, even today.

It’s understandable that you may wonder: are metal fillings toxic?

Why Mercury?

Metal fillings are made from an alloy of metals including tin and silver. To help them harden up from their fluid state, mercury is added. This enables the dentist to mix, pour, and shape a filling quickly before it hardens on its own.

Because of mercury’s chemical nature, there is no other reasonable substitute. But the good news is that once the filling sets up, the mercury doesn’t harm you. People have been opting for metal fillings because they’re fairly inexpensive and very durable.

Myth About Mercury Fillings

Some people believe that chewing with metal fillings releases vapors that you can inhale and get sick from. Yes, regular pressure on metal fillings can release some residue. But this is a very small amount that won’t significantly impact your body. After all, you can get the same effects from eating fish.

It would take a whole lot more mercury than what’s found in a few fillings to make you sick. Occupational exposure to mercury is more of a concern than exposure through dental work.

Alternative To Mercury Restorations

If you don’t want to take any chances with your next filling, you can probably choose to go with a white composite filling. Composite resin dental material combines plastic and glass for a strong, sleek, and metal-free finish.

Ask your dentist about the possibility of upgrading any broken-down metal fillings for tooth-friendly composite ones.

Posted on behalf of:
River Ranch Dental
203 George Hopper Rd #100
Midlothian, TX 76065
(469) 672-4245



The Link Between Amalgam Fillings and Cancer

Posted in Fillings

Are amalgam (“metal” or “silver”) fillings linked with cancer? It’s important to have the information you need to make a smart decision about your restorative needs.

Why The Issue Comes Up

Amalgam fillings are a combination of metals such as silver, tin, copper, and mercury. People have worried for a long time that traces of mercury are released over time.

Mercury poisoning is a legitimate concern. Exposure to the element can cause problems to developing babies, small children, and the immune system, nervous system, eyes, kidneys, and skin of adults. There many other possible complications.

What the Facts Show

The bottom line is that there is too little mercury in dental fillings to have an effect. You are at far greater risk of mercury poisoning by eating seafood that contains high levels of the element.

The FDA has stated that metal fillings safe for people ages 6 and up. And the ADA (American Dental Association) states that there is no risk of cancer from mercury in amalgam fillings.

Would you like to check with the cancer experts? The ACS (American Cancer Society) also says that there is no scientifically measurable link between metal fillings and cancer of any kind.

Should You Be Worried?

Not necessarily. It’s up to you to make a decision you’re comfortable with!

Some folks like metal fillings for being faster, cheaper, and stronger. Others prefer the peace of mind they get from metal-free white fillings which are gradually phasing out metal fillings, anyway. Talk with your dentist about which restoration is right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Mendota Springs Dentistry
6317 McKee Rd #500
Fitchurg, WI 53719
(608) 957-7709


4 Reasons to Update Your Metal Fillings to White Fillings

Posted in Fillings

The latest trends and research support the move to replace metal fillings with white ones. Your metal fillings have served you well for years – why replace them now? Four reasons have convinced countless patients to upgrade their smile this way.

1.  White fillings are more aesthetic than metal ones.

White fillings are easily adjusted to match any tooth color. Say goodbye to the days of showing off ugly dark fillings every time you laugh or yawn! White fillings are especially ideal for the front teeth that show when you smile. You can have a whiter and more youthful looking smile thanks to tooth-colored fillings.

2.  White fillings are conservative.

Metal fillings require that a good deal of tooth structure is removed to anchor them in place. White fillings bond chemically with a tooth. This bond means that the filling doesn’t have to remove too much more tooth structure when it’s placed. This neat and efficient job also reduces the chances of small leaks and fractures developing at the edges of the fillings over time.

3.  White fillings are mercury-free.

Many patients that the mercury content in metal fillings could affect their health after years of exposure. White fillings have no mercury, so updating them can give you some peace of mind.

4.  Aged metal fillings often hide decay.

Old metal fillings almost always hide a little decay underneath. These fillings can create tiny cracks in the tooth over time, which allow bacteria to sneak in. Removing these old fillings, cleaning out the decay underneath, and replacing with strong white fillings give your teeth a fresh start and advanced protection.

Ask your dentist today about making the switch from metal to tooth-colored fillings!

Posted on behalf of :
Prime Dental Care
417 Wall St
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 651-8618


Why is My Tooth Turning Colors?

Posted in Fillings

Have you ever experienced one, or all of your teeth turning colors? There could be a very good reason behind why it is happening. Here are a few examples of what to look out for and the cause behind it:

Grey or Blue Patches of Enamel

This is probably one of the most common types of tooth stain. It starts around old silver fillings, and is called an “amalgam tattoo.” In fact, the grey or blue stain can even extend into the gum tissue itself. The discoloration is due to leakage in the old metal filling, and the metal materials seeping into the enamel. 

Brown or Blue Shade Throughout the Entire Tooth

When the nerve of a tooth dies, so does the tooth. This process can take years, even decades to show signs of symptoms. In most cases the tooth will start to look slightly darker than the neighboring teeth. Over time, the tooth looks as if it is an unnaturally dark brown or even blue shade. 

Brown Lines

If you have cracks in your teeth or leaky margins around an old white filling, you may start to see brown lines. This is simply due to stain particles seeping into the microscopic openings of your enamel. Most of the time this is strictly an aesthetic concern, but it can be an indication that a functional problem is developing. 

These are just a few examples of some of the types of discoloration that we see in the dental office. It certainly is not a comprehensive list! If you’re beginning to notice discoloration of your teeth or on certain areas of the teeth – then it’s time to give your dentist a call!

Posted on behalf of:
Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-1725


Inlays, Onlays and Crowns

Posted in Crowns

Some cosmetic dental procedures today involve removal of metal dental fillings and replacing the filling with sculpted dental porcelain that closely resembles the natural tooth enamel, both in appearance and in strength. Furthermore, they can be made to match the natural color of the tooth, which is much more visually appealing that the older metal or amalgam fillings.

A dental inlay acts as a cosmetic replacement for a large filling, sitting in the center or chewing part of the tooth, in the grooves between the cusps. Whereas, an onlay covers not only the center grooves of the tooth, but also one or both of the cusps. Inlays and onlays are typically useful when there is a large amount of damage done to a tooth, but not enough to require the placement of a crown.

Inlays are usually smaller restorations, or filling replacements. Onlays are for much larger restorations, for which they are sometimes called partial crowns, wherein their durability adds strength to support the structure of the tooth. An inlay or onlay is a more conservative treatment than the application of a full crown and is virtually unnoticeable with today’s materials.

A crown basically replaces, or covers, the entire structure of the original tooth, down to the level of the gum. A crown can be either a restorative necessity or of cosmetic value because, not only do they restore and strengthen the structure of the original tooth but they also have a natural esthetic appearance. When tooth decay or trauma has destroyed the majority of the original tooth, a crown restoration is usually the preferred option. Your local dental professional will help you determine which level of restoration is best suited for your individual needs.

Posted on behalf of Dan Myers


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