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Are old fillings causing cracks and fractures in your teeth? Are your mercury fillings serving you well?

Silver fillings expand and contract in response to the temperature variations in the mouth. The physical properties (such as resistance to shearing forces, yield strength and coefficient of thermal expansion) of silver fillings are SO vastly and incredibly different than that of a tooth; eventually they cause micro-cracks in the structure of the tooth. What look like cracks to us could potentially look like autobahns to the bacteria... a quick way into the depth of your tooth. Teeth with very large silver fillings fail regularly. Silver fillings are an amalgam of silver alloys with mercury, hence the name silver amalgam. Studies are unclear about the harm that silver/mercury amalgam fillings can cause to the human body. Silver fillings are banned in some European countries but not in the US. At the time of writing this web-page, it is known that a few studies are underway in US. At this point, the ADA does not recommend that mercury fillings be removed for the sole purpose of getting rid of the mercury from the mouth. They may however be replaced with new restorative fillings for other clinical reasons such as secondary decay or cracks etc.

We, at Enso, practice Amalgam-free dentistry. We don’t place amalgam fillings since we believe that we have very esthetic options available to us in today’s day and age that easily rival the strength of amalgams and easily exceed any other physical standards set by amalgam fillings. Don’t get us wrong. We believe that amalgams have served dentistry well. They have helped save many-a-teeth when nothing better was available. However, like most other things in life, we do better when we know better. Dentally speaking; we have better, healthier and safer options available to us now.

Enso dentistry amalgam removal protocol

We don’t want our patients to ingest or inhale the old silver filling dust, as the fillings are being removed. We follow a special protocol in our office when we remove your old silver fillings. We can discuss this when you come in for your appointment. We are also very conscientious of the effect the mercury has on the environment as it is removed from your mouth. Even though it is not mandated by the law, we have invested in an Amalgam separating unit. This unit removes the mercury from the liquid waste ever before it gets the chance to hurt our Salmon.

Unlike silver amalgam fillings, porcelain inlays and porcelain onlays will not expand or contract significantly, in response to temperature changes caused by hot or cold foods. Inlays and onlays can replace silver fillings to create a healthier, more natural-looking smile. In treating dental decay, or fractured and cracked teeth, inlays and onlays help to eliminate tooth sensitivity and eventual tooth loss. Inlays and onlays also offer the following benefits:

Since they can be made from tooth-colored material, including porcelain and composite resin, inlays and onlays are virtually invisible. The use of inlays and onlays requires less tooth reduction than does the use of metal fillings. This allows dentists to conserve more of a patient’s natural tooth structure in the treatment process. Because of the way porcelain inlays and porcelain onlays are made and bonded into the tooth structure, they help to strengthen teeth from inside out. The durable material from which inlays and onlays are made helps them last up to 30 years, much longer than that of conventional fillings. By saving decayed teeth, inlays and onlays prevent the need for more extensive treatment later on. However, if you have lost too much tooth structure due to decay or fractures caused by your old silver fillings, inlays and onlays may not be an option for you and you may need crowns (porcelain fused to metal crowns or porcelain fused to a ceramic substructure crowns) to protect and strengthen your teeth.