Dental Filling Upgrade FAQ

Why should I replace old fillings that can't be seen when I smile?

Amalgam fillings are certainly very visible because of being such a different color and texture from tooth enamel. Tooth-colored composite fillings blend in much better. But appearance isn't the only reason to replace them. As they age, they tend to shrink. They aren't bonded to the tooth they fill, but just packed in tightly. So if they shrink enough, they can loosen and sometimes fall out. They also expand with heat, which can slowly weaken the tooth.

Has it been proved that mercury in fillings are harmful?

No, it's controversial and still being debated. The FDA stated in September, 2006 that it stands by its previous decision that mercury in dental fillings isn't harmful unless you're allergic to mercury. But several consumer groups dispute this conclusion.

What are amalgam fillings made of?

They're a mix of silver, copper, tin and mercury, with mercury making up about 50% of their weight. That doesn't mean they're 50% mercury though, because mercury is heavy.

How can mercury in your filling hurt the rest of you?

As we continue on with our daily chewing, teeth brushing, and perhaps teeth grinding, the mercury in the filling very slowly gives off mercury vapor, which is absorbed by our soft mouth tissue and builds up in the body.

Many studies have been done worldwide to discover where in the body it resides, and have found it in the brain, adrenal glands, and breast milk, to give just a few examples. Some studies have connected it with diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis.

Despite the many studies, agreement hasn't yet been established as to exactly how mercury from fillings does hurt us, or even whether in fact it does.

What can fillings be made of besides amalgam?

They can be made of dental bonding material, which comes in a number of tooth shades, and is like putty in consistency.

What advantages do white fillings have besides absence of mercury?

They have many advantages. Amalgam fillings are simply packed into the cavity and therefore need the right shape cavity to hold them in, which means more healthy tooth tissue must be removed. White fillings are bonded to the tooth, holding it together and thus strengthening it.

Very tiny cavities can be given a white filling, as it flows into the cavity, rather than being packed into it. In some such cases, no anesthetic is needed.

The dental composite used for white fillings insulates the tooth from extreme temperature changes.

If you would like to replace the fillings you currently have for aesthetic or health-related reasons, call Brighton Dental Associates today. Your initial cosmetic consultation is always free, so there's no better time to start experiencing the beauty of a healthy smile!

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