For over a century dentists have been taught in dental school to use the same filling material—silver (amalgam). In the 1840s, dentists discovered they could combine silver and mercury into a paste that could be used to fill cavities in teeth. Even today it is the method most commonly taught in dental schools.
Fortunately, in the 1980s there were some technological breakthroughs that led to the first real advancement in fillings since the amalgam mixture was discovered. First, a strong white composite filling material was developed that had enough strength and wear resistance to serve well, even on back teeth. Then there were advancements in bonding technology that enabled the composite material to bond directly to the teeth. When you combine both of those advancements, you get composite fillings.
Advantages of Mercury-free Fillings
Many dentists still prefer to use amalgam, because that’s the way it has always been done. They’re comfortable and experienced with the techniques. There are so many advantages to composite fillings, however, that Dr. Mavrostomos has embraced the new technology.
Amalgam Fillings—Containing Mercury
Mercury-free Composite Filling
- With amalgam fillings, healthy tooth structure will have to be removed in order for the filling to be strong enough. Any weak tooth structure, even though it is healthy, has to be removed, plus a minimum depth is required. With composite fillings, because the filling bonds directly to the tooth, all healthy tooth structure can be preserved.
- They seal adjacent vulnerable parts of the tooth against recurrent decay.
- They bond directly to the tooth, strengthening it. Amalgam fillings weaken the tooth.
- Since they don’t conduct heat and cold the way metals do, omposite fillings have less post-operative sensitivity.
- As you can see from the pictures above, composite fillings are much more attractive and blend in with your natural teeth.
If you are looking for a mercury-free dentist, you may call our office or request an appointment online.