The amalgam-mercury dental fillings are a contemporary restoration from the Civil War era. In recent years there has been an on-going debate about the potential health risk these dental fillings may place on the body’s immune system.
In fact, there are several European countries that no longer allow these restorations to be used.
Though our country has not yet taken this position, it is interesting to observe the health regulatory authorities have designated the extra mercury scraps as a toxic waste, which must be isolated, packaged, and hauled away by a hazardous waste disposal service. The question must be asked, “Why are we using the mouth as the other dump site?” Why is the mouth considered a suitable, “safe” place to store such hazardous waste, especially if healthier, longer-lasting options are available?
Believe it or not, the mercury issue may not be the only health risk! Mercury fillings actually weaken the tooth over time by wedging the tooth apart. Eventually, these wedging effects propagate fractures, resulting in broken teeth, micro-leakage leading to bacterial invasion a cause of recurrent decay and toothaches, which lead to root canals and possible tooth loss.
In the past, these risks were the sadly accepted norm of an aging mouth. Today’s dental options provide a happier solution for all!
Until recent years, dental patients were told that repairing teeth with white dental fillings was just for cosmetic purposes and may not stand up as well as the metal restorations. This philosophy is now passé. With the eminent technology of dental adhesion, resins, lasers and state-of-art ceramics, the new space-age restorations are close to rivaling nature in strength, wear, function, and appearance. There are now sixteen-year studies showing that with properly administered technique, these advanced restorations surpass traditional dentistry with a number of other incredible advantages.
With these new space-age materials and biological “super glues,” it is possible to predictably bond teeth back together, virtually restoring them back to their virgin strength without the evasiveness of full-coverage crowns. In the majority of circumstances, crowns can be replaced with more conservative techniques. It is therefore possible to preserve the healthy, remaining tooth structure, rather than whittling teeth down, as a pencil would be ground away by a pencil sharpener.
By intercepting the potential of fracture before experiencing symptoms of hot/cold sensitivity and biting pain, new conservative treatments are preventing the dreaded side- effects of toothaches and broken teeth. We are also able to diagnose these problems earlier with the assistance of fiber optics and camera magnification technologies. As you can now see, prevention is taking on new meaning, other than just for cavities and gum disease.
Craig W. Conrow DDS MS FACP is dedicated to the area of Cosmetic and Implants Dentistry, providing preventative maintenance and restorative dental health care for our patients. Take advantage of our modern dental facility and excellent dental care.