Traditional silver (amalgam) fillings go back to the 1840s when dentists discovered they could make a paste out of mercury and silver. Once they filled the tooth, the paste would harden and last for many years. That became the standard treatment. What most patients didn’t know is, though they are called silver fillings, they are made mostly of mercury. The American Dental Association has said that it believes amalgam fillings are safe. However, even with that assurance, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of putting mercury in their body.
Fortunately, in the 1980s there were some technological breakthroughs that allowed us to make mercury-free fillings. Their clinical name is composite fillings, but most people know them as white fillings. At SommersFamilyDental, we prefer the composite fillings for most situations. However, we provide both amalgam and composite fillings and let our patients choose the filling they are most comfortable using.
Advantages of Mercury-Free Fillings
- Because they bond directly to the tooth, your tooth is strengthened. Amalgam fillings weaken the tooth.
- Much less tooth structure has to be removed to restore a cavity.
- Amalgam fillings conduct hot and cold, leading to tooth sensitivity. Mercury-free (composite) fillings do not conduct hot and cold.
- Composite fillings are much more natural looking, so they won’t show when you smile or laugh.
Comparison of Mercury-free Composite Fillings and Amalgam Fillings
If you’re interested in keeping your mouth mercury-free, you may call our office to schedule an appointment. If you prefer, you may click here to request an appointment online.