Here at Bethany Family Dental, a Dentist in Bethany OR, Doctor Austria, has done extensive research on filings and can provide a great deal of support in answering your questions.
We often get patients who ask us about their silver fillings. Doctor Austria, says that there are slight side effects to removing silver filings, but they are outdated and new types of fillings are more efficient. But before we remove anything from your mouth it is important to know the pros and cons of Mercury-Silver fillings.
Pro’s of Mercury-Silver Dental Fillings
Mercury-Silver fillings or “amalgam” are the same material today as they were nearly two hundred years ago. Of course with the advancements of society that makes these types of fillings very outdated. The main material used in these types of fillings is mercury with silver, with a little tin, nickel, copper, and other metals. These metals are in your mouth, which means they can last for many years, because the metal corrodes, and “self-seals” the micro gaps between the tooth and the filling.
A benefit is that the rust is rich in heavy metals, and is very toxic to bacteria, so recurring decay is usually rare. Even with these slight benefits, in today’s dentistry industry, mercury/silver fillings are considered to be extremely old fashion. Doctor Austria is leading the Oregon health dental community with some of his studies, research and technology, naturally when it comes to fillings, he won’t settle.
Con’s of Mercury-Silver Dental Fillings
One of the main problems with silver fillings is when the amalgam corrodes, it will always expand; because all metals expand. And for your mouth, this is not really a good thing. As they expand, they put pressure on the remaining tooth structure, and eventually either the tooth or the filling will fracture. Ouch!
Also note that there are much better materials available to us now than there were in the early 1820′s: bonded porcelains; bonded composites; even glass ionomer cements.
We hear a lot of our patients explain their reason for switching to a more modern filling because they look more natural. Bonded porcelains wear at the same rate as the natural teeth. Porcelains will not discolor the natural tooth structure either, whereas silver fillings often impart a darker, grayish hue to the naturally translucent tooth color.
Alternatives to Mercury-Silver Dental Fillings
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and Dr. Austria can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth. As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.