What Are Metal Fillings?
Metal fillings, also called dental amalgam fillings, have been the traditional go-to dental restoration for filling in cavities. Amalgam is an alloy comprised of various metals which typically include silver, tin, copper, mercury, zinc and indium. Metal fillings have been used in dentistry for over 100 years.
With new concerns over the last few years about the potential dangers of amalgam fillings, alternative fillings have come about. These alternative fillings include: fillings using a blend of mercury and indium, fillings using a blend of mercury and copper, fillings using composite resin, porcelain fillings and gold fillings. With these alternatives to metal fillings being used more and more, the use of metal fillings is declining.
Why Are Metal Fillings Used?
Amalgam fillings have been used because they are easier to put on, are less expensive and are resilient, enduring prolonged chewing for years. The new metal filling alternatives provide more of an aesthetically pleasing appearance and require less of the teeth to be removed. They are also said to not last as long as metal fillings.
Three Reasons to Avoid Metal Fillings
While metal fillings have been the trusted fillings for cavities, why then should dental patients avoid them? Below are the three top risks or drawbacks of metal fillings:
- The presence of mercury. Metal fillings are not recommended for young children, pregnant women, those allergic to mercury or metal and those who consume a lot of seafood. While metal fillings have undergone improvements to limit the concentration of mercury and how easily it is able to disperse into the body, there is a small amount of mercury that still leaks out.
Mercury is abundant in our environment. It is found in our food, drinking water, and air. The concern comes from exposing yourself to unnecessary amounts of mercury. Exposure to high concentrations of mercury can lead to mercury build-up in your body which can cause major problems for your internal organs. The most common symptoms people experience when exposed to too much mercury include headaches, anxiety, fatigue irritability and memory loss.
- Metal fillings are much harder to remove. While you may be tempted to the lower price and better durability, you must realize that they are harder to remove. When your metal fillings get worn down and need to be replaced, often additional, healthy portions of your teeth will need to be removed in order for the remaining filling to be extracted.
- Metal fillings are not as aesthetically pleasing. Amalgam fillings are not as great to look at because of the metal color. The newer, alternative fillings that don’t contain metal, such as ceramic, porcelain and resin composite are closer to the color of natural teeth, making them more popular.
At Artistic Dentistry, both your smile and dental health are important to us. We offer a variety of cosmetic, restorative, sedation and general dentistry services. For more information about non-metal fillings or simply ask us a question, contact us today.