What Are Your Fillings Filled With?

The Placerville Dental Group wants to make sure you get the best dental care available for your teeth and gums. We make sure to get as familiar as we can with all the latest techniques, products, and materials in the dental industry. That’s also why we offer composite fillings for dental caries (cavities) instead of metal amalgam. Why the change?

Mixed with Mercury

For over a hundred years, mercury was used with other metals like silver, tin, and copper in a combination, or amalgam, to fill holes in teeth. This amalgam is very strong, resilient, and lasted a long time. Although the amount of mercury used was very small, it still had the potential of being toxic. The American Dental Association reviewed recent studies on the levels of mercury used in dental amalgam and reaffirmed their position that the levels did not exceed any thresholds of health and safety.

Nevertheless, the rigidity of dental amalgam poses a potential to cause damage over time. Teeth wear with age. But the rigid amalgam wears at a different rate. As that happens, gaps often form between the teeth and the amalgam filling. As the tooth and the amalgam wear and tear against each other, further decay is likely to happen. Amalgam can also crack, affecting the strength of the tooth and increasing the possibility of the filling coming loose.

Safer Alternative to Amalgam

Thankfully, modern technology introduced a much better product called composite resin. Fillings made with resin are more flexible, working with the natural wear of teeth. That means it doesn’t work against the teeth and are therefore much less likely to come loose. The best part, however, is that composite resin has far less toxicity. If you have concerns about mercury amalgam, using composite resin is a good choice.

Current Amalgam Fillings

Do you have amalgam fillings? The Placerville Dental Group recognizes that every mouth is different, therefore every circumstance with fillings is different too. While many people, especially older ones, have amalgam fillings, they are likely not in any danger from toxicity. The fillings themselves, however, might not fit as well as they once did. In that case, in order to prevent the tooth decay that the filling was originally meant to arrest, the filling needs to be replaced.

This emphasizes the importance of regular checkups with the Placerville Dental Group every six months, so we can keep an eye on how your teeth and any fillings are getting along. Of course, a healthy dental routine of brushing for two minutes, twice a day, along with flossing, keeps food, plaque, or other debris from getting wedged between your teeth and fillings and encouraging rot and decay. If you need to schedule a new dental visit, please give our office a call or create an appointment online.


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