A “silver” filling is actually a dental restoration consisting of a mixture of mercury silver, tin, and other metals. Together, these metal fillings are called amalgam, and have been trusted in dentistry since the 1800’s. Though the fillings were sufficiently durable, inexpensive, and easy to apply, they have also been at the center of an ongoing controversy.
There has been a notable decrease in the popularity of amalgam fillings, and an overwhelming movement in regards to the mercury free fillings known as composite or resin. Much of the decline in the use of amalgam fillings is related to the questionable safety of the mercury.
In its natural state, mercury is highly toxic, though most studies have shown that it is inactive when combined with the other metals. Also, as it is handled in dental office, there is the disturbing risk of environmental pollution in the form of evaporation, waste water disposal, and land fill contamination.
Aside from the questions regarding mercury toxicity, amalgam fillings are not particularly attractive in appearance, and the characteristics of metal (such as expansion and contraction) make it more likely to separate from the teeth, fracture, or cause temperature sensitivity.
With a growing list of disadvantages, amalgam fillings are no longer the most ideal restorations. However, the demise of the amalgam has given rise to the popularity and success of mercury free tooth-colored filling. But, what makes these composite resin fillings so ideal?
- No risk of toxicity or pollution
- Tooth-colored restorations that are more aesthetically pleasing when placed in the front or back teeth
- High level of durability
- Low potential for temperature sensitivity, expansion, or contraction
- Ability to bond to the enamel
The decision to select metal-free fillings should be determined based on the judgment of the dentist and the preference of the patient. In many cases, older metal fillings are removed and replaced with metal-free options as necessary and any new areas of tooth decay are also restored with metal-free choices.
Contact Richardson Dentistry today to learn more about the advantages of mercury free restorations. Call (972) 218-0078 to schedule your visit.