Dental fillings are a way in which dentists treat a damaged tooth that has decayed and lost its standard shape, size, and function. Such decays might be due to excessive consumption of sugary items at wrong times and improper oral hygiene, but a decaying tooth comes with a lot of pain because it affects the inner nerve endings in the soft pulp cavity.
When you have a decayed tooth, it is best to consult a dentist who will recommend a dental filling treatment method. When you undergo a dental filling procedure, the decayed or compromised tooth is first removed, and the affected position of the tooth is cleaned out, and the cavity is filled with a filling material. The cleaning and filling of a decaying tooth help prevent further decay because bacteria have been locked and cleaned out and so can no longer continue their detrimental breakdown activity.
There are different types of materials used for filling like gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-coloured fillings) and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury mixed with silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc). The question of which of the materials is best for filling for you is to be determined by your dentist. Some of the factors that may influence the decision include the level of the damage to the tooth, your allergies to certain materials, the cost, and the position in your mouth where the filling is needed. The gold filling lasts longest compared to the other types of fillings, which makes its demand highest; however; it is the most expensive filling obtainable and requires regular visits to your dentist. Silver filling (amalgam) is not as expensive as gold fillings and are less prone to wearing out, but they are obvious because of its dark color and so are not used in easily visible in areas of the mouth like the front teeth. The composite resins (tooth-coloured fillings) are used to maintain a natural outlook because the substances are mixed to achieve the colour of the teeth. They may wear with time and can get stained from food items that are ingested. They also do not last long. Porcelain fillings are produced in the laboratory to match the color of the tooth, and they are perfectly bonded to the tooth.
Of all the different types of filling materials, the silver filling poses a very dangerous threat to human health because of the mercury contained in it. Silver colored fillings are dental amalgam fillings, and it contains about 50% mercury, and mercury is dangerous to human health. The use of silver fillings has raised concern since the mercury content was discovered. Mercury is used in amalgam because it makes the substance pliable when it is mixed with an alloy. It hardens quickly and withstands the biting and chewing forces.
The degree of harm caused by mercury in the body is in proportion to the amount of mercury that has built up in the body over time. Low levels of mercury are not enough to cause any adverse effects. As the silver fillings wear off, small amounts of mercury are released in the form of vapor, and although the quantity released is low, the volume builds up over time and becomes detrimental to the health at a certain level.
Dentists advise pregnant women and infant children to stay away from mercury to avoid compromise of their fragile health status because the mercury is absorbed and retained in the body particularly in the brain, kidney, lungs, and liver. Apart from chewing food particles, the output of mercury can be intensified by teeth-grinding and the consumption of hot liquids. Mercury is also released during the placement, replacement, and removal of dental mercury amalgam fillings. It should be noted that individual response to mercury varies and so dental mercury serves as an exacerbating or causational factor in most severe conditions like Alzheimer’s diseases.
Most importantly, pregnant women and children are the major percentage of the populace that stands the risk of a detrimental build-up of mercury from silver fillings. You might want to stay safe by resorting to using alternatives to silver fillings. These alternatives involve substances like indium that helps retain the mercury in silver fillings so that less is released into the environment or high copper amalgams that contain less mercury and more copper in them.
Dentists could decide altogether to use other materials to treat tooth decay or cavities in teeth. You can go for treatment to dentists whose practice does not involve the use of mercury if you are concerned about your health or if you have mercury allergy. Your silver fillings should be replaced only when they are worn out or chipped off because in the process of removing good silver fillings there might be a release of more mercury. If you have concerns about your silver fillings, it is wise and advisable to discuss with your dentist first. Call Angel Dental at 626-444-2002 to make an appointment to see if we can help you. Easy to get to in El Monte, Angel Dental is your dentist.