Can you tell me what the heck a mercury-free dentist is? Should I be worried if my dentist isn’t one? They seem to be all the rage these days.
The only time you need to be concerned about whether you have a mercury-free dentist or not is when you need a filling. There are two main types of dental filling material. You can see them pictured above. On the left is what is commonly known as silver fillings. Their clinical name is amalgam fillings. On the right are composite fillings, commonly known as white fillings.
The big “controversy” with the amalgam fillings is their main ingredient is mercury, a known toxin. While the American Dental Association (ADA) has said using them in amalgam fillings is perfectly safe, it’s understandable that patients would not be too comfortable knowingly putting something in their body which can cause biological and neurological problems.
When you go to a mercury-free dentist, you can be assured that you will only get a white composite filling. That gives patients peace of mind.
What if You Have Mercury-Laden Fillings You Want to Get Rid of?
Learning what’s in in their dental fillings for the first time can sometimes be distressing for patients. Often, the first thing they want to know is can they switch them to the white fillings. The answer is yes, but you don’t want to go to just any dentist to have it done. Without taking proper procedural precautions, you risk inhaling mercury vapors and tiny slivers of filling.
Your best bet is to find a local holistic dentist. They will use sanitary amalgam removal. This process protects you from inhaling the vapors or swallowing bits of filling. Then you can have them replaced with white fillings safely.
But, what if you don’t have a holistic dentist nearby? In that case, the second tier would be a mercury-free dentist. Be careful, though. While all of them exclusively place white fillings, they don’t all know how to do sanitary amalgam removal. Be sure to ask them what steps they take to protect you during the removal process. If they don’t mention stopper dam at some point in the process, you’re better served moving on to another dentist.
Teeth Whitening and Composite Fillings
A fun cosmetic benefit of composite fillings is how well they can blend into your teeth. If you happen to have a filling that will be visible when you smile, this can bring confidence you never had with your old silver fillings.
If you’d ever considered whitening your teeth, now is the time to do it. Once the fillings are placed, their color won’t change. If you whiten your teeth, your natural tooth structure will grow brighter, but the filling will retain its original color.
However, whitening your teeth ahead of time allows your dentist to match the filling to your new color, giving a perfectly smooth color throughout the surface of your teeth.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Susan Dennis.