For years, dentists used metal amalgam fillings that were half mercury (or more). Mercury is a toxic metal that has been associated with brain damage, kidney damage, birth defects, and even death. This may have been acceptable when lead was used for pipes, paint, and even children’s toys, but today it seems unconscionable for a dentist to put something like that into a patient’s mouth. Especially when other options exist that are not only more attractive but also offer other benefits for your teeth. Tooth-colored fillings help protect your teeth while offering an attractive smile—and don’t contain toxic mercury.
If you want to avoid or remove toxic mercury fillings in Corpus Christi, tooth-colored fillings may be right for you. Please call (361) 851-8274 or contact the Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry today for an appointment.
Two Types of Tooth-Colored Fillings
It’s important to understand that you have multiple options when it comes to tooth-colored fillings. The most common, quickest, and cheapest is the resin composite filling, which is made of plastic that has ceramic inclusions in it for strength and durability. These fillings begin as a soft putty that can be shaped to fill in the area where decay was removed. The putty is hardened using a curing light, and polished to give it a luster similar to tooth enamel.
The other kind of tooth-colored filling is known as a ceramic inlay or onlay, depending on how much of your tooth is being restored. It is made of the same advanced ceramic as porcelain veneers or a tooth-colored crown, and then is bonded to the tooth. It looks very much like your natural tooth enamel, and outperforms all other filling materials.
An Attractive Smile with Tooth-Colored Fillings
Nobody wants to advertise that they’ve had tooth decay, but that’s an unfortunate reality with metal fillings. Metal amalgam fillings start out silver, so they’re very visible, and after a short time in your mouth, they may oxidize, turning black. This makes them look as bad (or worse) than the cavities they replaced. Even if metal amalgam fillings are not on a visible surface—such as the back side of a tooth—the dark coloration can cause the entire tooth to turn dark.
Tooth-colored fillings can be precisely color matched to your natural tooth color, and with the proper polish they are indistinguishable from your natural teeth. Unless you tell people, they’re unlikely to notice. Staining can be an issue with resin composite fillings, just as it’s an issue with your natural teeth, but ceramic inlays and onlays are highly stain resistant.
Protect Your Teeth with Tooth-Colored Fillings
Metal amalgam fillings also do not do as good a job of protecting your natural teeth as tooth-colored fillings. Metal amalgam responds differently to heat and cold than your teeth. When you drink a hot beverage, the metal amalgam swells faster than your natural tooth, which can lead to cracking around the filling. And when you drink a cold beverage, the filling—which is just crammed into your tooth, not bonded to it—shrinks, leaving a space around the filling that can be infiltrated by liquid and bacteria. This is referred to as “percolation” around the filling.
Tooth-colored fillings create a tight seal with your teeth and they don’t have the same problem with expansion cracking or percolation. Resin composite fillings have the added benefit of requiring only small amounts of tooth material to be removed. This preserves more of your natural tooth.
Ceramic fillings are strong enough that they not only cover up decay, but restore much of the strength your natural tooth lost as a result.
Avoid Toxic Mercury
And then there’s the issue of toxic mercury that accounts for about half of metal amalgam fillings. We know mercury is toxic when it’s in our water and our air—how can it not be toxic in our mouths? The American Dental Association and the FDA insist that metal amalgam fillings are safe, but Dr. Lowrance is not so sure.
Mercury doesn’t stay in the fillings. It evaporates and is inhaled, and it penetrates through the tooth into the blood. Studies using animals have shown that mercury from metal amalgam fillings quickly spreads through the body, concentrating in the lungs, kidneys, jaw, and digestive tract. Since the only real benefit of metal amalgam fillings is that they’re cheap, it doesn’t seem worth the risk to use them for any patients.
If you are looking for tooth colored fillings in Corpus Christi, please contact the Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry today.