Why Dr. Peck Provides Amalgam-Free Dentistry
Through modern day technologies of dental adhesion, resins and state-of-the-art ceramics, the latest bonded restorations are close to rivaling nature in strength, wear, function and appearance. You can see side-by-side examples in the photo above of bonded white fillings vs. metal amalgam fillings. Using these innovative materials, it is easy to bond your teeth back together, basically restoring them back to their original toughness but without the invasiveness of full-coverage crowns. Typically, metal fillings can be replaced by methods that are known to be a better solution to mercury/silver amalgam fillings. It is, therefore, a possibility to maintain the healthy, leftover tooth structure, as an alternative to grinding it down for a crown.
Everything wears away, and your silver fillings will be no different. They withstand stress-filled and heavy biting forces each day, and as they get older, they will split, leak and can also bring about damaging fractures on teeth. Over time, metal amalgam fillings can, in fact, soak up water, causing them to swell and even break free from the teeth. At this point, your tooth is far more prone to tooth decay and sensitivity.
Mercury/Silver fillings share some other noted drawbacks that need to be thought of when it is time for you to swap your restorations:
• Silver fillings are less attractive than natural-colored fillings. Everyone agrees, they scream out, “I am a metal filling put here because this person didn’t take care of their teeth very well!”
• Amalgam expands and shrinks when exposed to hot and cold extremes in your mouth. The continuous growth and contraction through temperature can initiate cracks as well as fractures in teeth. There might not be any kind of symptoms for a while, but these teeth can become hypersensitive as the crack expands or opens while you bite down or chew food. It isn’t strange for patients to come in curious about the way they broke their tooth while they were eating something soft such as bread or a banana. What they don’t know is that the tooth probably had a crack in it a long time before it finally came apart.
• Silver fillings that are under constant chewing force are susceptible to metal weakness or bending and flexing failure, a concept that can be understood and demonstrated by continuously bending a paperclip until it breaks.
• Metal fillings are much harder and less flexible compared to the teeth they’re molded into. The longer they may be on the teeth, the more pressure they will put on the remaining weak outer surfaces of the tooth resulting in fractures and cracks.
• Metal fillings are not cemented into the tooth cavity. They simply sit in the surrounding tooth and act under pressure to split the tooth apart, similar to how a metal wedge is used to split logs for firewood.
• A tiny space surrounding the filling edge is present from the moment the silver filling is plugged into the tooth; and within this gap, continuous corrosion and leakage takes place. This unnoticeable space is big enough to allow for bacteria and food particles to enter in after a while and bring about tooth decay at the margin between the tooth and the filling. Composite fillings, however, are actually bonded to the tooth surfaces and seal the margins closed from invading bacteria.
• In order to prepare a tooth for a composite filling, the actual tooth can usually be treated a great deal more gently and with less healthy tooth structure needing to be removed. And therefore, the dentist can retain the highest level of healthy tooth structure as is feasible.
• Silver fillings require drilling undercuts (think carving out a pumpkin) and removing more substantial good parts out from the tooth so as to keep the mercury amalgam filling from falling out because it is not bonded straight to the tooth. These types of undercuts may also compromise the tooth as fillings get larger and doom that tooth to upcoming cracking down the road. These cracks could be significant leading to crowning the tooth to restore it or perhaps major cracks resulting in removal of the tooth.
• Composites, with their opportunity to be conservative and implementing their gluelike characteristics, can reinforce and guard against fracture. By blocking the opportunity for cracking prior to going through the symptoms of hot and cold sensitivity as well as biting pain, brand new conservative solutions such as natural-colored restorations or porcelain-bonded restorations are protecting against the complications of toothaches and damaged teeth.
• Finally, in many dentists’ opinions, bonded tooth-colored restoratives are considered safer compared to classic fillings, given that they don’t contain any mercury. Although the American Dental Association (ADA) claims the usage of mercury in metal fillings is safe, there is an ongoing disagreement inside the dental field concerning the adverse effects of these mercury amalgam fillings. Several of the European countries have banned the usage of mercury amalgam fillings in order to avoid any kind of risks linked to mercury.
When reviewing the menu of negatives associated, and potentially associated, with silver/mercury amalgam fillings, it becomes clear why patients are telling our practice to be PROACTIVE about extraction of mercury fillings instead of being REACTIVE and waiting until something goes wrong with the tooth.