Dentists have been placing amalgam fillings for over 150 years. Back in the 1840s, it was discovered that silver and mercury made into a paste could be pressed into a tooth where it would harden and could serve as a durable dental restoration that would last for years to come. Many people refer to these types of fillings as “silver”, however the technical name is “amalgam” and they are made with different metals but 50% of the material is mercury.
Over the years amalgam fillings have been the primary dental restorative material. However, in recent years there were two discoveries that benefited the dental industry. First a white filling material was developed and refined until it became, durable, wear-resistant, and biocompatible, and could be placed as a filling material instead of amalgam. Secondly a technique called bonding enabled these white fillings to be bonded directly to a tooth surface.
A Mercury-Free Dentist
Even though there have been many studies on what harm the mercury in the amalgam fillings can cause the evidence is inclusive. Many dentists still use amalgam as a restoration, however others have decided to become mercury-free within their practices. Dr. Hillary Peck has embraced this new technology, mastered its techniques, and realized the benefits it offers her patients.
Advantages of Mercury-Free Composite Fillings
- Composite fillings are very attractive and blend in well with your existing teeth, looking very natural and beautiful
- They are less susceptible to breaking or cracking the tooth
compared to amalgam fillings
- Patients experience less tooth sensitivity then with the metal
- Due to their bonding ability, they restore much of the strength
that your teeth had originally
- They do not corrode overtime like amalgam fillings
Amalgam is a low cost restoration that’s strong. However, it weakens the tooth structure and can cause it to eventually crack or break. It will also corrode over time, causing leakage around the filling which can lead to additional tooth decay.
On the left is a photograph of several amalgam fillings. Notice how gaps have begun to form on the molar between the filling and the tooth. Notice also the crack in one of the fillings. On the right is a photograph of the same teeth after the amalgam fillings have been replaced with composite.
If you are noticing cracks or tooth sensitivity around some of your silver fillings or want to replace your old fillings with white composite material, we’ll be happy to help you. Call our office or visit our request an appointment page.