Arnold, MD Mercury-Free Dentist
Mercury fillings have been around since the 1840s. They’re also known as silver fillings. That’s because they’re an amalgam of 50 percent mercury blended with an alloy of silver and other metals.
One reason mercury-amalgam fillings used to be very popular is that any dentist can do them. They’re relatively easy to place and are part of basic dental education. Composite fillings haven’t always been taught in dental school and can be tricky to place successfully. Trained cosmetic dentists know how to place composites. At Chesapeake Dental Arts, we prefer mercury-free composite fillings and do not place amalgams.
Mercury Versus Composite Fillings
Though mercury fillings are strong, they can make the tooth more prone to cracking. Also, they conduct heat and cold to the tooth’s nerve, which may hurt. However, the most noticeable disadvantage is aesthetic. Few dentists will place a silver filling on a front tooth, but sometimes they don’t mind putting them on back teeth. Unfortunately, these silver fillings are visible if you’re laughing or yawning. Composite fillings look better, even on back teeth, making the mouth appear healthier. Other advantages of composite fillings:
- They require less removal of healthy tooth structure than amalgam.
- They bond to the tooth to strengthen it.
- When correctly placed, they’re less sensitive than amalgam fillings.
You should have composite fillings placed by a cosmetic dentist who knows the proper technique. The cavity site must be completely dry before placing a composite, which can be challenging with the back teeth.
We can fix small or large cavities with composite. Before beginning, Dr. Esposito or Dr. Yap-Encomienda will select a color that matches your other teeth. Next, she’ll give you an injection of novocain so you don’t feel pain. Then she’ll carefully remove the decayed part of the tooth. Using a composite filling allows her to preserve more of the remaining tooth than amalgam would.
After preparing the tooth, Dr. Esposito or Dr. Yap-Encomienda will carefully layer the white composite into the cavity. Between layers, she’ll harden the filling with a handheld tool that emits light, making it indistinguishable from your natural tooth. Finally, she’ll polish the filling and ensure the new filling hasn’t altered your bite.
If you’d like to make an appointment with a mercury-free dentist and learn more about white composite fillings, please call us at 410-757-6200. You may also fill out this form, and we will call you to schedule an appointment.