The Pitfalls of Amalgam Fillings

March 31, 2014

As a proud provider of , Dr. Brad Greenfield often educates patients on the downsides of metal fillings. Besides the visual effect of metal flashing against the pearly-white backdrop of your teeth, the mixture of metal can also be prone to failure, simply for acting the way metal should act. Though effective, the popularity of amalgam fillings lies mostly in their cost-effectiveness, which, for many patients, is only an illusion—if the filling fails, you’ll need more comprehensive treatment to fix the restoration and preserve your tooth.

What’s in a Metal Filling?

Amalgam describes a combination of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy that consists of silver, tin, copper, and other trace metals. The American Dental Association has deemed the minimal mercury content in amalgam fillings safe for most patients, except those who are pregnant, elderly, very young, or who exhibit metal allergies. The main danger, however doesn’t necessarily stem from amalgam’s mercury content, but from how metal reacts to the changing conditions within your mouth.

Properties of Metal vs. Structures of Teeth

The purpose of a dental filling is to reinforce a tooth that’s been treated for a cavity, and to prevent the cavity from growing more by sealing the tooth from oral bacteria. When metal, including dental amalgam, grows hot or cold, it can expand or contract, respectively. Since a filling is placed inside of your tooth, its changing shape can damage the tooth’s rigid, inflexible structure, or create spaces for bacteria to reach and reinfect your tooth’s interior.

How to Solve the Amalgam Conundrum

Even if your amalgam filling has performed admirably until now, Dr. Greenfield may recommend replacing it with a tooth-colored, composite resin filling. Composite resin is tinted to match the color of your teeth, and can be bonded to the tooth’s surface to create a highly-effective protective barrier. With amalgam-free fillings, your restoration will look as natural as it feels, and will significantly improve your chances of preventing reinfection.

About Your Rochester Hills Dentist:

Dr. Brad Greenfield works to protect his patients from the dangers of inadequate dental restorations, and he is proud to offer holistic, 100% metal-free dentistry. To learn more, or to schedule a dental appointment, call Lake Orion Family Dentistry today at 248-693-6213. We proudly treat patients in Lake Orion, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Clarkston, Oxford, all surrounding communities.

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