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Fred H. Peck, DDS, FAACD
Call Us Now: (513) 621-7666

“A Tradition of Excellence
In Dentistry for 3 Generations”

Why Our Dental Team Provides Dental Care Without Amalgam

Peck, DDS Amalgam 5

Quite a few patients come to Peck, DDS requesting to upgrade their silver fillings. They really want their old metal fillings removed and swapped out with tooth colored fillings. You can see side-by-side examples in the photo above of bonded white fillings vs. metal amalgam fillings. People typically cite esthetic and health concerns with their old metal fillings. It really is true that the esthetics of a smile could be significantly improved with a more natural, tooth colored restoration. Furthermore, there are several good reasons that would explain why it’s smart to upgrade to a tooth colored porcelain restoration or a resin composite filling.

Everything wears out, and your silver fillings will be no different. They endure tense and significant biting forces each day, and as they get older, they will split, leak and can also cause damaging fractures in the teeth. Over time, metal amalgam fillings can, in fact, absorb water, causing them to swell and even break free from the teeth. When this occurs, your tooth is far more susceptible to tooth decay and tenderness.

Peck, DDS Amalgam 6

Mercury/Silver fillings have some other noted drawbacks that ought to be considered when it is time for you to swap your restorations:

• Silver fillings are less appealing than tooth-colored fillings. Think about it, they scream out, “I am a metal filling put here because this person didn’t take care of their teeth very well!”

• Amalgam grows and shrinks when subjected to hot and cold extremes within your mouth. The constant growth and contraction with temperature might initiate cracks as well as fractures in teeth. There might not be any sort of symptoms for a while, but these teeth could become very sensitive as the crack increases or opens if you bite down or chew food. It is not abnormal for patients to come in questioning the way they broke their own tooth while they had been eating something soft such as bread or a banana. What they don’t know is that the tooth most likely had a crack in it long before it ultimately came apart.

• Silver fillings under continual chewing pressure are susceptible to metal weakness or flexing and bending failure, a concept that may be grasped and shown by repeatedly bending a metal paperclip until it eventually breaks.

• Metal fillings are much harder and far less flexible compared to the teeth they’re molded into. The longer they are in the teeth, the more force they will put on the rest of the weak surfaces of the tooth leading to cracks and fractures.

• Metal fillings aren’t cemented into the cavity. They merely sit in the surrounding tooth and react under pressure to wedge the tooth apart, similar to how a metal wedge can be used to split logs for firewood.

• A microscopic space surrounding the filling edge exists from the moment your silver filling is plugged into the tooth; and within this gap, normal corrosion and leakage occurs. This space is big enough to allow harmful bacteria and food particles to enter in after a while and cause tooth decay at the border between the filling and the tooth. Composite fillings, however, are actually glued to the tooth preparation area and seal the margins closed from invading bacteria.

• To be able to prepare a tooth for a composite filling, the actual tooth can be treated a great deal more gently and with less healthy tooth structure needing to be removed. And therefore, the dentist can retain the highest amount of virgin tooth structure as possible

• Silver fillings call for drilling undercuts (think carving out a pumpkin) as well as the removal of more substantial healthy parts out of the tooth so as to keep the mercury amalgam filling from falling out because it is not attached right to the tooth. These kinds of undercuts can also compromise the tooth as fillings get bigger and doom that particular tooth to upcoming cracking down the road. These fractures can be substantial leading to crowning the tooth to restore it or perhaps major fractures leading to removal of the tooth.

• Composites, with their opportunity to be conservative and making use of their gluelike properties, can reinforce and guard against fracture. By simply blocking the potential for fracturing prior to experiencing the signs and symptoms of hot and cold sensitivity and also biting pain, completely new conservative solutions including tooth-colored restorations or porcelain-bonded restorations are reducing the complications of toothaches and broken teeth.

• Finally, a growing number of dentists believe that, bonded tooth-colored restoratives are probably safer than conventional fillings, simply because they don’t contain any mercury. Even though the American Dental Association (ADA) declares using mercury in metal fillings is safe, there is certainly an ongoing debate in the dental industry regarding the adverse effects of those mercury amalgam fillings. Several of the European countries have banned using mercury amalgam fillings to avoid any sort of risks related to mercury.

Considering the laundry list of negative effects associated, and potentially associated, with silver/mercury amalgam fillings, it becomes clear why patients are telling Peck, DDS to be PROACTIVE about extraction of mercury fillings rather than being REACTIVE and holding off until the tooth cracks or develops decay under the amalgam plug.