There are people who have developed good oral hygiene habits from an early age and have never experienced tooth decay. For the rest of us, however, we may have wondered: are fillings safe? In Gilbert, Chandler, and the surrounding area, Lifetime Family Dental has been serving dental patients for years, and we have seen the trends come and go. Many studies have been done over the years to determine the safety of the materials used in fillings. As is sometimes the case, the findings differ and occasionally conflict.
The biggest concern has been with the use of mercury. Mercury began to replace gold in amalgams in the early 1800’s. There was initial resistance from some chemists who understood the dangers of mercury poisoning, but because mercury-based amalgams were cheaper and easier, dentists continued to use them. Through the early 20th century, the debate continued back and forth, with both pro- and anti- mercury groups producing scientific studies to support their beliefs. By 1990, the proof was pretty conclusive that mercury was very toxic, and its use in dental amalgams began to decline.
While gold and porcelain are still available and used for fillings, the most common material for fillings today is composite resins. There are many formulations available, but they are all essentially similar in function. There are many advantages to using composite resins. They are tooth-colored, so they are not noticed; this means cosmetically, they can be used on front teeth as well as on back teeth. Composite resins also require less of the natural tooth to be removed when repairing cavities. In addition, they harden in a minute or less using a special light. Composite resin fillings are not difficult to repair and they cause fewer cases of tooth sensitivity. Perhaps the biggest advantage of composite resin fillings is that they are not nearly as toxic as mercury.
Replacing Amalgam Fillings
Are you concerned about old amalgam fillings, or have you wondered, “Are fillings safe?” In Gilbert, Lifetime Family Dental can replace your old fillings with composite resin, gold, or one of several other materials. We will be happy to discuss all available options and help you determine what will work best for you. After all, you want to put your best smile forward!
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