To repair a cavity or fix a decayed or defective tooth, we use mercury-free products— also called composite restorations. These white restorations are designed to match the color of your teeth and give the most natural appearance. They utilize more advanced technology than silver amalgam fillings, and are considered by many to be less of a health concern. When performed correctly, these restorations can help restore the tooth to nearly its original strength.
If you are looking to repair your cavity in Winston-Salem without ending up with a mouth full of potentially toxic metal, please call 336-765-2921 or email Robinson Dental Studio today for an appointment.
Problems with Metal Amalgam Fillings
When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, metal amalgam fillings are almost as bad as having decay in your teeth. They are very obvious even when they’re first placed and they’re silver. Then they turn black and can discolor your entire tooth.
Metal amalgam fillings have been around for over 150 years. They were controversial when they were first introduced—they were even declared to constitute dental malpractice in 1843—and they are controversial today.
Metal amalgam fillings expand and contract in response to heat at a much different rate than your tooth enamel, which can lead to heat and cold sensitivity. When your filling expands, it can put pressure on your enamel leading to cracking. And when your filling contracts, it can leave space around it for liquid to penetrate into your teeth (metal amalgam isn’t bonded to your tooth—it’s just jammed into the prepared hole). This can lead to damage and decay around your metal fillings.
What concerns many people about metal amalgam fillings is the presence of mercury. Mercury is a very toxic metal, and it doesn’t stay in your fillings. It evaporates, creating mercury vapor in your mouth, and seeps through your teeth, entering your bloodstream. Metal amalgam fillings are actually half mercury by weight, and a small metal amalgam filling probably contains about 155 mg or mercury. To compare that with another mercury source people worry about, that’s about 100 times as much mercury as in a CFL bulb, and perhaps 1000 times as much mercury as a broken CFL might release if you left it on your floor for an entire day.
The FDA and the ADA say that metal amalgam fillings are safe, and evidence on the dangers is sparse, but many people are made nervous by the mercury in these old fillings.
To avoid the problems associated with metal amalgam fillings, we use composite resin fillings. These fillings are white and can even be mixed to match your precise tooth color. No one will see that you’ve had decay repaired. Composite fillings bond to your teeth and don’t cause the problems related to thermal expansion and contraction. And because they can be placed in smaller spaces in your teeth, less tooth material will be removed to prepare your tooth for the filling, which means more natural tooth remains, which can also help keep your smile strong and healthy.
The limitation of composite fillings is that they may not last as long as metal amalgam fillings. But if you’re looking for a tooth-colored option that outperforms metal amalgam, we offer dental onlays.
To learn more about your filling options in Winston-Salem, please contact Robinson Dental Studio today.