Removing Mercury Fillings
What people call silver fillings are more accurately called amalgam fillings. They are a mixture of silver, some copper, maybe some other metals, and about 50% mercury. They have been used in dentistry since the 1840′s, and while they have their strong points, we now have excellent composite materials that have several distinct advantages.
Here’s a photograph of old amalgam fillings that have begun to break down and leak.
Here they are replaced with new white composite fillings.
Some people question the safety of amalgam fillings, because they are about 50% mercury. It used to be thought that the mercury was tightly bound to the other metals and would not be released. But recent research suggests that small amounts of mercury vapor are released during chewing on these fillings. Whether or not this tiny amount of mercury is toxic is a subject of controversy.
Dr. Bruce prefers placing composite fillings. Here are the advantages:
Advantages of White Fillings
Their chief advantages relate to the ability we have to bond the filling material to the tooth. This means that we don’t have to remove weakened tooth structure, which means that much less drilling is required for new cavities, meaning a much smaller filling.
Since they bond to the tooth, the end result is stronger, meaning that the tooth is less susceptible to breaking.
Since amalgam is metal, it is an excellent conductor of hot and cold. Composite fillings insulate against hot and cold, meaning there will be less post-operative sensitivity.
They can be matched to the color of your teeth, so that people can’t tell that you have fillings.