Why Dr. Peck Decided On Dentistry Without Amalgam
With advanced technologies of dental adhesion, state-of-the-art ceramics and resins, the newest bonded restorations are close to rivaling nature in strength, comfort, function and appearance. You can see side-by-side examples in the photo above of bonded white fillings vs. metal amalgam fillings. Using these brand new materials, it is easy to bond your teeth together again, virtually restoring them to their original strength minus the invasiveness of complete-coverage crowns. Generally, metal fillings can be replaced with techniques that are better than mercury/silver amalgam fillings. It is, therefore, possible to maintain the healthy, remaining tooth structure, as opposed to grinding it down for a crown.
Everything wears out, and your silver fillings are no different. They withstand stress-filled and heavy biting forces each day, and as they get older, they crack, leak and can cause damaging fractures in teeth. Over time, metal amalgam fillings can actually soak up water, causing them to swell and break free from the tooth. When this occurs, your tooth is far more susceptible to tooth decay and sensitivity.
Mercury/Silver fillings have some other significant disadvantages that ought to be considered when it is time to swap your restorations:
• Silver fillings are much less esthetic than natural-colored fillings. The bare truth is, they don’t look anything like real teeth.
• Amalgam grows and shrinks when subjected to cold and hot extremes in your mouth. The frequent expansion and contraction with temperature can easily initiate cracks as well as fractures in your teeth. There will not be any kind of symptoms for a while, but these teeth can become hypersensitive as the fracture increases or opens when you bite down or chew. It is not unusual for patients to come in wanting to know how they broke their own tooth when they had been eating something soft such as a banana or slice of bread. What they don’t know is that the tooth more than likely had a fracture in it well before it finally came apart.
• Silver fillings under constant chewing stress are prone to metal weakness or bending and flexing failure, a concept that can be fully understood and confirmed by repeatedly bending a metal paperclip until it finally breaks.
• Metal fillings are harder and less flexible than the teeth they are pressed into. The longer they may be on the teeth, the more force they put on the rest of the weakened walls of the tooth leading to fractures and cracks.
• Metal fillings aren’t cemented to the tooth cavity. They merely sit in the tooth and react under pressure to wedge the tooth apart, similar to how a metal wedge can be used to split logs into firewood.
• A microscopic space surrounding the filling edge exists as soon as the silver filling is plugged into the tooth; and in this space, constant leakage and corrosion occurs. This space is large enough to allow for bacteria and food particles to enter in after a while and result in tooth decay at the border between the filling and the tooth. Composite fillings, however, are actually glued to the tooth surfaces and seal the margins closed from bacterial invasion.
• To be able to get a tooth ready for a composite filling, the tooth can usually be treated much more gently and with less healthy tooth structure needing to be removed. And for that reason, the dentist can retain the highest level of original tooth structure as is feasible.
• Silver fillings call for drilling undercuts (think carving out a pumpkin) along with the removal of larger good portions from the tooth so as to keep the mercury amalgam repair from falling out because it is not attached directly to the tooth. Those undercuts may also weaken the tooth as fillings get bigger and relegate that particular tooth to subsequent fracture down the road. These fractures can be substantial resulting in crowning the tooth to repair it or perhaps catastrophic fractures leading to extraction of the tooth.
• Composites, utilizing their chance to be conservative and implementing their gluelike attributes, can reinforce and protect against fracture. By simply blocking the potential for fracture prior to experiencing the symptoms of hot/cold sensitivity and also biting discomfort, brand new conservative treatment options such as natural-colored fillings or porcelain-bonded restorations are actually reducing the negative effects of toothaches and broken teeth.
• Finally, many dentists say that, bonded tooth-colored restoratives are probably safer than classic fillings, since they do not incorporate any mercury. While the American Dental Association (ADA) declares using mercury in metal fillings is harmless, there is an ongoing discussion within the dental sector concerning the negative effects of those mercury amalgam fillings. In Europe, several countries actually banned using mercury amalgam fillings to avoid any kind of risks related to mercury.
Considering the list of negatives associated, and potentially associated, with mercury amalgam fillings, it’s no wonder that patients are directing our practice to be PROACTIVE about removal of mercury fillings instead of being REACTIVE and holding off until the tooth cracks or develops decay under the amalgam plug.