For many years, amalgam has been the most popular material used by dentists to fill dental cavities. This is because it is relatively inexpensive as compared to other materials, and is extremely durable. However, many in the dental profession are moving away from amalgam fillings and using other materials including porcelain and composite resin to fill cavities. In fact, some dental practices no longer offer silver amalgam fillings at all.
This trend is largely driven by consumer demand. Many individuals have decided to go with other options due to both cosmetic and safety concerns. There is no doubt that porcelain and composite resin fillings are more attractive than silver amalgam fillings because they are tooth colored and can be made to closely match the color of natural teeth. Most individuals simply do not want to have a mouth full of metal. Even if your silver amalgam fillings are in the back of your mouth, they can still show when you laugh or smile. For this reason alone, many individuals are choosing to have their old silver amalgam fillings removed and replaced with natural looking porcelain or composite resin fillings.
Aside from the cosmetic concerns, other dentists and consumers alike are concerned about the safety of silver amalgam fillings. This is because amalgam filings contain Mercury: a known neurotoxin. While the evidence is not conclusive at this time, many worry that continued exposure to Mercury vapors from amalgam fillings can cause serious long-term health problems. Others are simply not comfortable having a known Neurotoxin placed so close to their brains.
Whether your old silver amalgam fillings are worn out or slipping and need to be replaced or you are just tired of having metal in your mouth, porcelain or composite resin fillings provide an attractive alternative to silver amalgam fillings. However, before having your old amalgam fillings removed and replaced, it is important to find a dentist who is experienced with this procedure and adheres to the highest standards when it comes to their safe removal. There are currently a number of protocols in place that help to reduce your exposure to Mercury vapors during the removal process and to limit the amount of Mercury that is deposited into the water supply. Talk to your dentist today to find out of his or her procedures for silver amalgam filling removals.