Silver fillings – it sometimes feels like they can be seen across the room when a person opens their mouth to laugh or speak.
Many people are really insecure about others being able to see their silver amalgam fillings. Others are worried about the adverse effects of the mercury and other materials in these types of fillings.
Fortunately, for those who aren’t crazy about silver fillings, there is an alternative: tooth colored fillings. And not only is this option more attractive – it’s the safer filling choice.
The dangers of amalgam fillings – Why avoid silver fillings
Amalgam fillings have been used for over 150 years. This silver material is made up of:
- Small amounts of indium, palladium, and/or zinc
Dentists have used this material because it’s incredibly strong and holds up well for years of wear and tear.
The environment in the mouth isn’t necessarily a friendly environment.
Teeth, gums, and restorative materials are constantly being subjected to harsh attacks from bacteria, acidic foods, hard or crunchy foods, and bite force.
Over time, wear can occur. And this is why dentists appreciate the strength of silver fillings. The durability of this material has allowed patients to go for years – decades even – without needing to replace their fillings.
However, concern has risen in recent years over the safety of the ingredients in silver fillings, particularly that of mercury.
Silver fillings contain 50% mercury. This element is highly toxic and has been linked to:
- Hearing loss
- Respiratory problems
- Weakness and fatigue
- Cardiovascular problems
- Impaired immune system
- Insomnia and headaches
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Disruption of the endocrine system
- Emotional instability, mood changes, depression, nervousness.
According to studies, whenever a person chews, a small amount of mercury is released from the fillings. This can happen, too, during the consumption of hot drinks and food. Chewing gum and bruxism (teeth grinding) can also release mercury.
Even though the FDA says that these fillings are safe, they do admit that mercury is released into the body and is quickly absorbed into the blood stream.
Another danger that concerns dentists is that while removing and/or placing amalgam fillings, mercury vapors are released and can affect the dental staff members who are exposed to them.
This is why so many dentists are turning their back on silver fillings and opting for tooth colored fillings.
Get beautiful, safe fillings with tooth colored fillings
Metal-free tooth fillings have been around for decades. However, it’s only been within the last decade or decade-and-a-half that these types of fillings have been strong enough to use on back teeth.
Thankfully, this type of filling material is now made of more durable components, allowing it to be utilized on both the front and back teeth.
What are natural, white, tooth colored fillings made of? This filling material is made of plastic and ceramic /glass compounds.
Dentists love tooth colored fillings for multiple reasons.
- They’re safer than mercury-leaching silver fillings
- They come in multiple shades, so they can be matched to nearly any tooth color. In fact, multiple colors can be layered together to get an ideal match to the patient’s natural tooth color.
- Because of the ceramic components, these fillings can be polished to a high sheen, making it almost impossible to tell whether the patient has a filling or not.
- Composite fillings don’t expand and contract like amalgam Teeth with silver fillings can often crack over time because of this, leading to painful cracks, fractured teeth, microleakage (which leads to decay), and even gum disease. All of this can be prevented with white fillings.
- While these fillings can stain over time, they don’t discolor the teeth like silver fillings.
Talk to Dr. Westman today about the best option for your needs
More and more dentists are banning amalgam filling material from their offices, while others keep it as an option for certain circumstances. Some dentists claim that this is the more affordable option for some people.
Thankfully, tooth colored filling material is getting more affordable each year, making it a viable filling option for nearly everyone.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with dental decay should talk to their dentist about the type of filling material they want. Some dentists automatically make decisions based on their knowledge and expertise.
But the best course of action is to get feedback from the patient – especially if that patient is concerned with the aesthetics and healthfulness of amalgam.
For these patients, the choice is clear – natural-looking, white fillings are the only option.
Are you interested in a beautiful, metal-free smile? Contact our office today to find out more about our cosmetic dentistry options, including white, metal-free fillings.