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Many people have what they call silver fillings. Actually, these fillings are only partly silver, and a more accurate term for them would be amalgam fillings. They are about half mercury, with the other half being mostly silver and some other metals.
Back in the mid-1800’s dentists discovered that they could make a paste out of mercury and silver, and this could be used to fill a tooth after the decay was removed. The paste would then harden into a fairly durable and effective restoration.
It’s no secret that mercury is toxic. So it is understandable why some people may be concerned with having mercury placed in their mouth. The American Dental Association states that amalgam fillings are safe and many dentists still choose to use them, though a growing number are getting away from them. This topic is a controversial one in dentistry.
Benefits of Being a Mercury-free Dentist
With modern advances in technology, there is another option to fill cavities using white composite. Not only has this alternative proven to be durable enough to hold up on back teeth, the bonding technology enables our dentist—Dr. Jenny Miller—to bond them directly to your tooth.
Some dentists aren’t comfortable with this newer bonding technology. It requires complete isolation of the tooth, as well as advanced training in the bonding techniques used to place them. Dr. Miller has embraced these methods and runs a completely mercury-free practice.
She feels white composite fillings are superior to amalgam for many reasons:
- White composite fillings don’t contain mercury.
- Since metals conduct heat and cold readily, there is less post-operative sensitivity with composite.
- Composite fillings are bonded directly to the tooth which provides increased strength.
- More of your tooth’s natural structure must be removed for amalgam fillings to be successful.
- The tooth is sealed with composite fillings. This helps to protect the tooth from decay in the future.
- Corrosion can occur over time with amalgam.
- Composite fillings are tooth colored. They blend in for a much more natural-looking result.
Below is a comparison of amalgam fillings that have been replaced with white composite.