Amalgam fillings 一 often referred to as silver fillings 一 are strong and durable. However, these fillings are composed of about 50% elemental mercury. Mercury is highly toxic, and there is no known safe level of this metal. That’s why we’re proud to offer mercury-free dentistry here at Dr. Darj Dental in El Paso, Texas.
Mehrnoosh Darj, DDS, wants you to be aware of the dangers of mercury. Here, we share what you need to know about mercury and describe your mercury-free alternatives for optimal dental health.
Understanding the dangers of mercury
Mercury is a metal that occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust. It can exist in many forms, including elemental metal and inorganic forms. The World Health Organization lists mercury as one of the top 10 substances that pose major public health issues. Even the smallest exposure to mercury can have negative effects on:
- Major body systems, including your digestive, nervous, and immune systems
- Your lungs
- Your kidneys
- Your skin
- Your eyes
Mercury exposure can happen through food, such as high-mercury fish, and environmental or work exposures. What type of mercury you’re exposed to affects the intensity of how mercury affects your body.
There is no safe level of mercury, and current research shows that silver dental fillings that contain mercury expose you to the harmful effects of mercury.
Mercury isn’t the only danger …
Amalgam fillings don’t just contain mercury. They contain other metals too, such as copper, zinc, or tin. Individuals who are particularly sensitive to metal may experience unwanted symptoms, including oral lichenoid contact lesions.
Metals can also cause other problems. For example, they can reduce a provider’s ability to accurately detect damage and decay on X-ray images because the radiation can’t penetrate the mercury and other metals. They also can lead to cosmetic concerns because the metal is more visible and doesn’t blend in with your teeth.
Explore your mercury-free options
Thankfully, if you need a cavity filled, you’re not stuck with amalgam fillings as your sole option. Mercury-free dentistry:
- Allows you to avoid the cosmetic issues of visible metal fillings and crowns
- Is ideal for people with metal sensitivity
- Is an option for those who want to reduce their exposure to mercury and other metals
When it comes to mercury-free dentistry, Dr. Darj provides many options for both crowns and fillings.
Metal crowns are strong, but they’re also highly visible and contain mercury. We offer porcelain crowns, which address both of these concerns. Porcelain is a type of ceramic, and because it’s translucent, it mimics the appearance of your natural teeth. Porcelain crowns are especially ideal for treating your front teeth because they blend in so well with your natural teeth.
Additionally, porcelain is naturally metal-free, making this an ideal choice for those wishing to avoid mercury and other metals.
Just like metal crowns, metal fillings are conspicuous and can contribute to metal sensitivities. Dr. Darj offers composite resin fillings instead of amalgam fillings. Composite resin is the second-most used material for fillings, just after amalgam. These fillings, which are made of acrylic resin and powdered glass filler, are often referred to as “white fillings” because they blend in so nicely with your teeth.
Metal-free orthodontic treatments
For decades, the go-to orthodontic treatment for straightening teeth was metal braces. Not only are metal braces notorious for causing mouth sores, blisters, and difficulty eating, they also expose you to metal for the duration of your treatment.
While traditional metal braces don’t contain mercury, they do contain nickel (a common sensitivity), chromium, and aluminum. Research shows that these metals can release ions into your saliva while the orthodontic hardware is in your mouth.
With ClearCorrect, we can help you reach your orthodontic goals without unnecessary exposure to metals like nickel or aluminum.
Get started with mercury-free dentistry today
Maybe you need a crown, or perhaps you have an amalgam filling and would like to replace it with a composite resin one. If you have questions about mercury-free dentistry, don’t hesitate to reach out. Call Dr. Darj today at 915-213-4097. You can also request an appointment online at any time.