Metal fillings in dentistry have been around for over 100 years. Back in 1840, dentists realized that an amalgam of silver and mercury could restore teeth damaged by cavities. Despite the name “silver fillings,” they are made up of 50% mercury. In the 1980s, dental composite technology advanced enough to where a material called composite could be used reliably on back teeth. Metal amalgam fillings are still stronger, but composite fillings are much more aesthetic. Dental composite is mercury-free and white in color, making it a more modern choice for fillings.
Advantages of Composite Fillings
The American Dental Association (ADA) maintains that the mercury used in amalgam fillings is safe, but many people are still uncomfortable with the idea. Dr. Vargas runs a mercury-free practice, using composite for all the fillings she does. There are several advantages to using composite, such as:
- Mercury-free composite fillings allow Dr. Vargas to leave more of the natural tooth intact, because they bond to your tooth’s natural structure. She doesn’t do amalgam fillings, because any undermined tooth structure has to be drilled away – even if the tooth structure is healthy.
- While amalgam is stronger than composite, an amalgam filling will weaken your tooth. Composite will bond to your natural tooth, which makes it much less likely to fracture.
- Unlike metal fillings, composite does not conduct heat or cold, so there is much less post-op sensitivity. Often, there is no post-op sensitivity at all.
- Since composite fillings are white in color, they can easily be matched to your tooth’s natural color; this makes them ideal for fillings in areas of your mouth visible when smiling.
- Composite fillings contain no mercury.
- Over time, metal fillings will corrode and develop gaps between the filling and the tooth.
If you are interested in a mercury-free composite filling, please call us or fill out an appointment form and we will call you.