No one wants to get fillings when they visit the dentist’s office, but sometimes they are necessary to preserve the health of your teeth and to keep small problems from becoming large, painful ones. If it is discovered that you have a cavity that can be restored with a filling, we will remove the decayed areas of the tooth, clean it, and then place a filling in the cavity. At Austin Dental Center, we offer mercury-free fillings, which have a myriad of benefits for the patient.
Dentists have been using dental amalgam for about 150 years. Amalgam is an alloy that’s created by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, and copper. This alloy has been used extensively throughout the last century to fill cavities. The mercury is combined with other metals to give it the necessary properties to function in teeth. However, over the years there have been questions as to its safety. Some people ask, “If mercury is toxic, how can mercury in our mouths be safe?” According to the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the US Public Health Service, mercury-based fillings are safe and reliable.
The advantages of amalgam fillings are that they can withstand a high chewing load, which is why they are often used to treat cavities in the back of the mouth. They are useful in certain situations and generally last quite some time. So why not use amalgam? There are several reasons why mercury-free fillings are better for the health and appearance of your teeth.
In the short-term, mercury-free fillings cause less sensitivity to cold temperatures in foods and drinks. Beyond the short-term, mercury-free, or composite, fillings have numerous benefits. Composite fillings have a similar flexibility to tooth structure whereas amalgam is more rigid than tooth structure because it is a metal. This property of amalgam make the tooth more vulnerable to breaking. Composite fillings, on the other hand, help to restore the tooth’s natural strength because the filling material bonds to the tooth. Instead of weakening the tooth, the filling gives it more strength. This can help prevent breaks or chips in your teeth.
Choose Austin Dental Center as Your Mercury-Free Dentist
During the preparation of the cavity, we remove the decayed areas. With amalgam fillings, we would have to remove more of the tooth in order to properly affix and secure the filling. Composite fillings allow us to keep as much of the tooth as possible. The hole made is smaller, which preserves the health and strength of your tooth.
While amalgam fillings are safe to use, many people are uncomfortable with this material being in their mouth. For them, composite fillings eliminate this worry.
Perhaps the biggest reason that people want to explore the benefits of composite, or mercury-free fillings is that they help keep our smile looking natural. Amalgam fillings are very distinctive as they have a silver color. They can be very noticeable when smiling or laughing, especially if the teeth filled with amalgam are in the front of the mouth. When composite fillings are properly done, they strengthen the tooth, and help you achieve a natural look so no one knows you ever had a cavity.
Although amalgam has its place in dentistry and has proven to be a safe and reliable material we have chosen to place composite fillings since the mid 1990’s and when placed with the proper technique and care we have found them to be functional, comfortable and much more natural in appearance.