Dental amalgams have been in use for centuries, and the specific amalgam comprised of mercury, silver, tin, and copper was first used in the Western world in the nineteenth century. Concerns over the toxicity of mercury have led to amalgam falling out of favor, and many dentists now recommend that people with amalgam fillings have them replaced with safer biocompatible material.
The Problem with Mercury Amalgam Fillings
Mercury amalgam fillings are popular with many dentists, largely because the material is strong, durable, and inexpensive. The problem is, this type of amalgam is approximately 50% mercury, a substance that has well-documented toxic effects on the brain and other organs. For this reason alone, the use of mercury in amalgam fillings is an increasingly controversial issue, with many dentists opting to use other materials instead.
Mercury’s toxicity to humans isn’t the only problem; however—there are also concerns over environmental toxicity caused by the disposal of amalgam waste. In the US, mercury amalgam disposal is largely unregulated, and it’s estimated that it may contribute up to a third of mercury waste in this country.
In purely aesthetic terms, mercury amalgam is less desirable these days because its dully silvery color doesn’t match natural tooth shades, and over time amalgam fillings can cause discoloration in the surrounding tooth.
Biocompatible Fillings are the Solution
|Biocompatible composite fillings create a natural smile|
All of the problems that relate to the use of mercury amalgam fillings are solved by using biocompatible resins instead. Resins are made from a mixture of ceramic, glass, and plastic, and they are highly versatile, particularly in comparison to mercury amalgam. Resins can be used to repair teeth that are broken, worn, and chipped, as well as those that need filling, and damage to resin fillings is easily repaired. Biocompatible resins can also be colored to match the natural shade of your teeth, so once resin fillings are fitted they blend into a natural looking smile.
Due to the health concerns associated with mercury, we recommend that if you currently have mercury amalgam fillings, you have those fillings removed and replaced with biocompatible resin. Doing this means you won’t have to worry about the potentially toxic effects of mercury, and you’ll also benefit aesthetically with natural-looking tooth-colored fillings.
South Bay Dentistry & Orthodontics works to educate their patients to the best dental practices including preventative measures to best support oral health and limit effects on physical health conditions. Call the office today to find out more about how Biocompatible Resin improves overall health and aesthetics.