Silver (or amalgam) fillings have been used to fill cavities for over 150 years. While amalgam fillings are effective, they are composed of about 50 percent elemental mercury. Studies have shown that the mercury found in amalgam fillings is chemically inactive and therefore safe, and no health problems have been so far connected to the mercury found in fillings. However, many people would prefer to have no mercury whatsoever in their mouths or in their children’s mouths.
We are pleased to offer our patients mercury-free tooth-colored fillings. We can use these fillings to fix new cavities, and we also offer the option of replacing old amalgam fillings that our patients find troublesome for any reason.
The Advantages of Mercury-Free Fillings
In addition to containing no mercury, tooth-colored composite resin fillings blend in perfectly with the shade of your own natural teeth. We are able to adjust the color slightly to give you a flawless finish that will never reveal to anyone that you have had cavities repaired. This gives mercury-free fillings the clear aesthetic edge.
Additionally, tooth-colored fillings actually bond to the tooth from the inside, which can help to support and strengthen your tooth. This is especially important if you need extensive fillings in a tooth. Metal fillings can cause the tooth to become weaker and more fragile, and you may require a crown to maintain the integrity of the tooth.
All metals, including metal fillings, shrink and expand slightly with temperature change. If you have metal fillings, you may not realize that your fillings are subtly changing every time you enjoy a glass of iced tea or a mug of hot coffee. While the changes are minute, over time they can cause the filling to become loose. Eventually, you may lose the filling, or you may develop a cavity behind the filling. Either way, you will need additional dental work. We prefer to do things right the first time to save you time and expense as well as prevent discomfort. Mercury-free composite fillings help us meet this goal.
Placing Mercury-Free Fillings
If you have a cavity, we will move quickly to stop the decay in its tracks. We will begin by cleaning out the cavity and removing the decayed matter. We may need to slightly expand the hole to make sure all of the decay is gone and only healthy tooth remains. Once this is complete, we will fill your cavity in stages by placing the filling material in layers and curing each layer as it is placed. Once the cavity is filled in, we will polish your tooth to a perfect finish, which will also help the filling material to lay flush with the surface of your tooth. Once this is complete, you will be able to continue with the rest of your day.
If you have additional questions about mercury-free fillings or you are concerned about your current amalgam fillings, please give us a call. We are happy to schedule you an appointment so you can discuss your options with Dr. Maher.