If you’re over a “certain age,” you almost certainly have at least one metal amalgam filling in your mouth. That’s because metal fillings weren’t just the standard method for treating cavities and other tooth defects — they were the only method. Today, though, there’s another option: metal-free fillings.
At Novi Family Dentistry in Novi, Michigan, Abir Faraj, DDS, offers metal-free fillings made of strong, natural-looking composite resins to her patients. If you need a filling, here are five reasons why metal-free restorations can be a better choice than their metal counterparts.
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of metal-free restorations: no mercury in your mouth. Metal amalgam fillings use a combination of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. The mercury component makes up about half of the filling material by weight.
Why can mercury be a problem? Because at certain levels, it can cause some pretty serious health problems, including brain and kidney problems.
But, before you get too alarmed — and before we explain where there can be a problem — you should know that the amount of mercury found in metal fillings is lower than the amount needed to cause harm. What’s more, mercury in existing, undamaged fillings is stable, meaning it won’t “leak” mercury into your body.
The issue is in regard to new metal fillings. If you have a new metal filling placed, the mercury could create a vapor that can be inhaled. In fact, the FDA advises avoiding metal fillings in:
Even though the FDA says you don’t need to have existing metal fillings removed, when getting a new filling, metal-free composite fillings avoid the potential risk of having to deal with any issues associated with mercury or other metals.
The second most noticeable benefit of metal-free restorations is how they look. In fact, metal-free fillings are often referred to as tooth-colored fillings simply because they can be tinted to match your other teeth. They can also be expertly shaped so they fit comfortably in your mouth and work the way they’re supposed to.
The resins used in metal-free restorations “flow on” to your teeth layer by layer. This application process differs markedly from metal fillings, which are applied as a “putty” that’s tamped tightly into the tooth defect. While metal fillings leave a seam where they meet the tooth, resin filling material forms a close bond with natural tooth material, helping prevent future cavities.
Today’s metal-free restorations are made of strong resin-based materials designed to withstand the rigors of chewing and biting. No restoration lasts forever, but with proper oral hygiene, the metal-free restorations we use will give you years and years of beautiful, trouble-free use.
Finally, if you ever need to have your resin-based filling, inlay, or onlay replaced, the material can be disposed of without causing the potential environmental hazards associated with mercury. And, of course, removing the material won’t result in mercury vapor or particles being released into the air.
To learn more about metal-free fillings and how they can improve your smile and your oral health, call 248-418-4542 or book an appointment online at Novi Family Dentistry today.