At Old Milton Dental, we want what is best for our patient’s health which is why we offer mercury-free dentistry. In the past, it was completely normal for dentists to strictly offer only amalgam fillings to fill cavities and to cap teeth. Today, there are many different options out there that not only look natural but are better for your overall health. Whether you have amalgam fillings or restorations or you are curious about mercury-free dentistry, our dentists in Alpharetta are here to answer all of your questions.
What are Amalgam Fillings?
Amalgam fillings are a type of dental fillings that have been used for more than 150 years by patients around the world. Amalgam is a mixture of different metals including silver, copper, tin, and mercury. They are also known as silver fillings because they have a silver-like appearance. The amalgam is a powder that a dentist prepares into putty that is then inserted into a tooth after a cavity is drilled out. It hardens and prevents debris from entering your tooth. While these fillings are on the cheaper side, they are stronger than many other types of fillings. Unfortunately, they do not look natural and potentially pose a risk because of the mercury content in them.
What is the Danger of Amalgam Fillings?
Since dental amalgam contains elemental mercury, it actually releases low levels of mercury vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by your lungs. When people are exposed to high levels of mercury vapor, it can lead to adverse effects in the kidneys and the brain. The FDA has reviewed that amalgam fillings are safe and have low levels of mercury vapor. The FDA has approved amalgam fillings for ages 6 and older. While the FDA does claim amalgam fillings to be safe, many patients prefer not to take the risk. At Old Milton Dental, we value both the safety of our patients and the wellbeing of our environment and therefore, have implemented the use of mercury-free fillings into our Alpharetta practice.
Disadvantages of Amalgam Fillings
There are many different disadvantages of amalgam fillings.
- Amalgam Fillings Look Unnatural – They color your teeth with a silver color. This can make your teeth look unpleasant and unnatural.
- Amalgam Fillings Destruct the Tooth Structure – Dentists usually remove more tooth structure in order to make room for amalgam fillings.
- Amalgam Fillings Can Create a Greyish Hue to Teeth – Your surrounding tooth structure can turn to a greyish hue if it contains amalgam fillings.
- Cracked or Broken Teeth with Temperature Changes – Amalgam fillings do not expand well with temperature changes like your natural teeth. This can result in your teeth cracking or fracturing because the tooth shrinks and grows bigger. This can also lead to discomfort when drinking hot or cold beverages.
- Mercury or Metal Allergies – If you have any allergies to metals or mercury, amalgam fillings can potentially be fatal.
- Amalgam Pollutes the Environment – Dental mercury is not only dangerous for your brain, but also the environment. If it is not disposed of properly, it can pollute water. Dentists are required to dispose of mercury in a safe way.
- Amalgam Puts Dentists at Risk – When a dentist takes the time to place or remove amalgam fillings, they are putting themselves at risk of inhaling the dangerous toxins.
- Amalgam is More Expensive – Believe it or not but amalgam is more expensive. Not the cost of the treatment itself but the environmental damage it causes. Not all dentists are disposing of amalgam correctly which can result in environmental damage that costs a lot of money to clean up.
- Amalgam Can End Up in Illegal Gold Mining – In developing countries, amalgam is shipped for dental use but is sometimes diverted to illegal use in gold mining. This puts gold miners at risk for mercury poisoning.
Amalgam Fillings Removal
While we do not recommend that you remove your amalgam fillings unless absolutely necessary, there is a way to remove them safely. The procedure involves serious safety precautions in order to ensure that both the patient and dentist and dental assistant stay safe and do not experience any mercury exposure. Preferably, we do not remove and replace mercury fillings unless they are damaged, or already in the process of falling out.
Benefits of Mercury-Free Dentistry
There are so many different benefits of mercury-free dentistry at Old Milton Dental. To start, composite tooth-colored fillings look completely natural. Your fillings won’t even be noticeable when you opt for mercury-free fillings. In addition, composite fillings are strong and don’t hurt the environment. When you opt for a mercury-free filling, you are not putting yourself or your dentist at risk for mercury poisoning. You can feel at ease knowing you are receiving a safe and beautiful alternative to amalgam.
Mercury-free fillings are also less invasive to your teeth. With amalgam fillings, your dentist would need to drill out more natural tooth than necessary just to accommodate the amalgam. With mercury-free fillings, your dentist will remove as little tooth as possible, preserving your natural teeth. Composite fillings are also known to last long. You can expect your mercury-free fillings to last longer than amalgam fillings without all of the risks involved. Composite fillings are also easy to repair. If they happen to fall out, it’s a simple replacement. With amalgam fillings, we have to take the dangerous vapors into consideration when repairing the filling.
Schedule a Visit With Our Mercury-Free Dentist in Alpharetta Today
If you are unhappy with your amalgam fillings or need a mercury-free dental filling placed, our dentists are happy to help. We choose to only place composite fillings in order to keep our patients and environment safe and healthy. Give us a call or fill out our online form to schedule a mercury-free dentist appointment today.