Perhaps out of all restorative dental procedures, dental fillings are among the most well-known. Chances are, you may have had one or more fillings performed on your teeth, or at least know someone who has. For the last 150 years, the dental filling material of choice was metal amalgam, a mixture of tin, copper, silver, zinc, aluminum, and, most notably, mercury. Even today, it is quite common to see small flashes of metal shining briefly from the inside of one’s mouth, usually indicating the presence of a metal filling. Dr. Corbet Locke, your Waco dentist, discusses the dangers of metal fillings and offers an innovative, discrete alternative.
Why Not Metal Fillings?
Ever since its arrival in America in the 1800’s, metal amalgam has raised quite a controversy over the safety of its use. Even at that time, exposure to mercury had proven to have adverse health effects in the brain and kidneys. The American Society of Dental Surgeons (ASDS), the first American national dental association, urged its members to pledge never to use amalgam in their patients’ mouths. At a time when gold was the only alternative, however, people were not willing to let go of the affordable dental option. After all, nobody was leaving the dentist’s office with signs of mercury poisoning. After facing such massive opposition in the court of public opinion, the ASDS disbanded soon after its attempt to ban amalgam from the US.
Although no evidence exists to suggest that the small amount of mercury in amalgam fillings can be harmful, the fillings themselves are still prone to failure. Because they are metal, they can expand and contract with changes in temperature, which can crack or fracture your tooth. By changing its shape, amalgam also allows for spaces to open between the filling and the tooth structure, allowing bacteria to seep back into the interior of the tooth and causing a re-infection.
There is Hope
Dr. Locke understands the dangers of metal amalgam fillings and chooses instead to use a biocompatible material called composite resin. This putty-like substance bonds to the surface of your teeth, eliminating the dangers of a constantly shifting dental filling. Composite resin is also custom dyed to match the color of your natural tooth structure for a more discrete solution.
If you are in need of a dental filling, or wish to replace your old metal dental work, schedule a consultation with Dr. Locke by calling our Waco dental office at (254) 776-4888. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.