Back in the 1840s, dentists found out that they could mix silver with mercury to fill teeth that had cavities. Even though they are called silver fillings, their composition is actually about 50 percent mercury. That same amalgam of silver and mercury is still in use today, but patients are increasingly concerned about the use of mercury in their mouths. And parents are even more concerned about mercury in their children’s mouths. Even though the American Dental Association has stated that mercury is a safe material for fillings, Dr. Davis understands these concerns, and he is a mercury-free dentist because he wants his patients to be comfortable with the treatment they receive here.
What Made Mercury-Free Dentistry Possible?
In the 1980s, research led to big advances in bonding technology and materials. The result was white composite fillings that have major advantages over the old silver and mercury fillings. The photos to the left show the same patient before and after amalgam fillings were replaced with the newer composite materials. To begin with, the old fillings required that a certain minimum amount of the tooth be drilled away. With white composite fillings, on the other hand, the dentist is able to be more conservative and save more of the natural tooth structure, which is always a good idea. Secondly, mercury-free composite fillings are bonded to the structure of the tooth, so they make the filled tooth stronger. This results in fewer of the cracks and breaks can be fairly common with silver amalgam fillings. And finally, the newer technology results in less tooth sensitivity than the older method.
Removing Silver/Mercury Fillings
Sometimes it is necessary to remove an old amalgam filling for a variety of reasons. This process can release the mercury from the filling into the mouth, where it can be swallowed, or into the air, where it can be breathed in. If you’re concerned about this, Dr. Davis provides sanitary amalgam removal. By using a rubber dam and suction equipment, he can keep the material from the old filling out of the mouth and airway.
If you would like an appointment, call our office or click here to complete our Request an Appointment form. We’ll help you find a convenient time for your visit.