You may have heard the buzz about people replacing old silver fillings with composites or crowns. Some people may be choosing these alternatives for esthetic reasons; however many people are choosing ceramic and acrylic metal-free fillings over traditional amalgam fillings for health reasons.
There is a segment of the population that has allergies to metal. Silver fillings are a mixture or amalgam of silver, tin, copper and mercury. An allergy to any one of the metals can cause a localized reaction. These reactions are usually limited to rashes or inflammation. In rare instances the reactions are severe enough to necessitate removal of the filling. Metal-free fillings are used as replacements.
Metal-Free Fillings Are Not New
Tooth colored filling material has been around for decades. It was mainly used in anterior teeth for esthetic reasons. These early composite resins were not suitable for large fillings. They also were not as durable or as strong as their amalgam counterparts hence, they were not good for use in molars. The first metal-free fillings were more susceptible to staining and they would leave the tooth feeling rough in the spots where they were used.
Advancements in Dental Materials
There has been much advancement in the field of dentistry including advancements in filling materials. The difference between metal-free fillings today and those of the past is remarkable. Tooth color can be matched virtually exactly. The fillings can be polished smooth so that you cannot tell where the tooth ends and the filling begins.
The newer metal-free fillings look better and last considerably longer than ever before. They are also more durable making them a perfect replacement for silver fillings. Perhaps one of the most important features of these modern day filling materials is that they are safer than their amalgam counterparts.
Safety and Metal-Free Fillings
Silver fillings are a combination of metals and mercury is used as a binder to hold them together. Even though the FDA approves of this filling material for use in people six years and up, it warns pregnant women to speak with their dentist about using them. There is some concern about the tiny amounts of mercury vapor emitted with silver fillings. Also, this material is not the best for kids under six, and younger kids do get cavities.
Composite resins are non-allergenic. Made from ceramic or glass and polymers, these metal-free fillings are safe as well as comfortable and virtually invisible. Composite fillings now have longevity and strength that is practically comparable to that of amalgam.
If you are interested in replacing your silver fillings with metal-free fillings, schedule an appointment at Spring Cypress Dental. We will be happy to remove those old fillings and give your smile a virtual makeover with metal-free composites. Contact us today for more information.