Here at Sunnyside Dentistry, your friendly Clackamas, Oregon dentist, we often get patients who ask us about their silver fillings. The majority of them want to know the pros and cons of their existing metal fillings. There are many side effects to removing silver filings, as they are outdated and new types of fillings are more efficient But before we remove anything form your mouth it is important to know the pros and cons of Mercury-Silver fillings.
Pro’s of Mercury-Silver Dental Fillings
These “amalgam” fillings are, with very minor changes, the same material today as they were when they were first introduced nearly two hundred years ago. With the advancements of society that makes them very outdated. Note that these contain mercury and with silver, with a little tin, nickel, copper, and other metals.
Because of this they can last for many years, because the metal corrodes, and “self-seals” the micro gaps between the tooth and the filling.
The rust is rich in heavy metals, and is very toxic to bacteria, so recurring decay is relatively rare. Mercury vapor is released from the alloys every time there is pressure applied, when you bite down, but it is not linked to any illness.
Even with these slight benefits, in today’s dentistry industry, mercury/silver fillings are considered to be like dinosaurs, and whatever purpose they once served, is no longer necessary because today we have more innovative and modern materials.
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 do. And for your mouth, this is not necessary 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.
Each of these products is very dimensionally stable, and, with bonding, the restorations are figuratively “welded” to the tooth, rather than mortared or wedged into place. The main difference and benefit for you is that there is no force wedging the tooth apart.
Plus a good thing is that no mercury vapors are released from these restorations for the simple reason that none of them have mercury in them.
Perhaps the patients most common reason for switching to more modern filling because they look more natural. Bonded porcelains wear at the same rate as the natural teeth, and amalgams don’t. Porcelains will not discolor the natural tooth structure, whereas amalgams impart a darker, grayish hue to the naturally translucent tooth color.
Alternatives to Mercury-Silver Dental Fillings
There are, quite simply, far better materials that not only look better, but function better, and are much safer and more kind to your teeth. We are happy to go over this and all your concerns and questions. Please call today for an appointment at a convenient time for you.