• August 1, 2015

It’s a pretty good chance that you know someone with a filling, or that you have one or two yourself! What kind of fillings do you have: ugly, grey metal ones? That metal, called amalgam is a blend of metals that hardens nicely in place, but has a lot of drawbacks that you might not know about!

Today we’re going to talk about the changes in dental filling material and why newer compounds that mimic the color of your teeth are both better looking and better for your teeth!

What’s The Deal With Dental Amalgam?

Amalgam blends mercury, silver, tin, and copper into a substance that does a pretty good job of restoring a damaged tooth and relieving pain – so good in fact that records of its use go all the way back to the year 659!

Amalgam has a lot of solid work behind it, and in some cases is still an excellent choice in dental fillings. It’s strong, affordable, long-lasting, and pretty much worry-free. These are great attributes but there are still problems with dental amalgam. Before we go on, however, it should be stated that mercury content is not one of the problems.

Mercury Content In Amalgam

The myth surrounding mercury in dental amalgam is just that – a myth. The confusion that most people have concerning mercury is how mercury enters your bloodstream and becomes poisonous. In its natural form mercury is a liquid metal that naturally exists all around us – even in low levels in our bodies!

Mercury in large amounts is highly toxic, but it’s much harder to be poisoned by mercury than you might think, especially by a mercury filling! Liquid mercury cannot be absorbed through digestion. That means if you swallow a bit of mercury, like from a thermometer or a filling, it will simply pass through your digestive tract!

Where people get mercury poisoning from is generally inhalation of fine particles and mercury vapors. The mercury in your fillings is harmless!

Why Is Amalgam Obsolete?

Aside from the fact that it’s ugly, dental amalgam has several things working against it, especially with newly available materials!

For starters, mercury is far harder than your teeth. Do you know what that means to the tooth surrounding your filling? That means that it distributes forces in a completely different manner from the natural tooth surrounding it. This can lead to microfractures that can become contaminated with bacteria, leading to further tooth decay or a weakening of the entire tooth!

There’s also the problem of the size of amalgam fillings. Metal isn’t too good at sticking to teeth, so to make an amalgam filling stay snugly in place it’s necessary to remove more tooth material. By designing a filling to extend further into the tooth it can be made more secure, but that leads to you losing more healthy tooth – we don’t want that to happen!

It’s always best to keep natural tooth in your mouth since it’s stronger, better at distributing forces, and if taken care of will last you forever! We always want to preserve your teeth, which is why we’ve changed the materials we use for our fillings: we now offer Voco dental composite!

Tooth-Colored Fillings: An Advantage!

The tooth-colored filling system we use at Shorewood Family Dental Care is called Voco, and is one of the most amazing resints available! As dental resin technology has improved over the years, we’ve been able to mold better, more natural looking fillings that have a lot of advantages over amalgam!

One of the biggest differences offered by amalgam, and made better with Voco, is the ability for resin to act a lot more like your natural tooth matter when under forces like chewing. An amalgam filling can’t offer the same efficiency and force distribution that resin can, meaning that the surrounding tooth is kept healthier!

Composite resin is also able to bond well to bone,which means the section of tooth we remove is much smaller than for an amalgam filling! That means more of your natural tooth remains, and what filling is there is firmly and place and practically indistinguishable from your natural teeth!

If you are suffering from tooth decay, don’t let your smile become more and more at risk – let our Shorewood dental team help you get back to a healthy, happy mouth that will really make you happy!

You can reach Shorewood Family Dental Care by calling our office at 815-768-1615 or by filling out our online contact form. We look forward to helping you!