Molonglo Dental Surgery
Do you want your dental fillings to look natural? Do you want to replace those old silver-coloured amalgam fillings that attract unwanted attention?
Want to replace your old amalgam fillings with the more aesthetic tooth-coloured fillings? Give our friendly team at Molonglo Dental Surgery a ring on 02 6287 1222.
A dental filling is one of the most frequently administered dental treatments. In the past, the standard procedure the dentist would prescribe usually consisted of placing amalgam fillings to repair the cavity in your tooth. However, the dark silver colour of amalgam fillings looks unsightly in one’s mouth, drawing attention to the fact that you’ve had fillings done. Amalgam fillings have also been highlighted as a contentious health risk, relative to its small but potentially toxic mercury content.
For these reasons, White Composite Fillings have emerged as a modern alternative to the amalgam “mercury” fillings. At Molonglo Dental Surgery, we recommend White Composite Fillings to patients who require fillings but are concerned about the aesthetic factor as well as a potential health risk.
For patients who wish to replace their existing amalgam fillings, we also provide a service for safe amalgam removal. Molonglo Dental Surgery is proud to be able to provide a non-toxic alternative that promotes the health and wellbeing of our patients. As cosmetic dentists, we are also happy to offer White Fillings as the preferred aesthetic choice for those who look after their appearance.
Should I opt for White Composite Fillings?
If the dentist has found a small cavity in your mouth, you would require dental fillings to repair and protect it from further decay or damage. However, under which circumstances would White Fillings be favoured over the more rugged but unsightly Amalgam Fillings? Here are a few factors to consider:
The appearance factor: This is perhaps the main reason why so many patients are opting for white fillings over amalgam fillings. Unlike white fillings that blend seamlessly with your neighbouring teeth, the dark silver appearance of amalgam fillings sharply contrasts with the other teeth in your mouth. Other material choices like gold or silver, while costlier, also appear as conspicuously as amalgam fillings hence are not as commonly requested.
The health factor: As mentioned, dental amalgams contain mercury, which is a highly toxic substance. Detractors claim that these fillings emit small amounts of mercury vapours into the lungs and can pose a significant health risk, resulting in physical dysfunction and even death. Although the health risks have not been established as fact by the dental/medical community, the safe amalgam removal procedure provides an alternative route to those who wish to avoid potential risks altogether.
The strength factor: Amalgam fillings are still widely used due to the rugged strength of their metallic component and affordable pricing. That is why some dentists recommend White Fillings for use on front teeth where appearance matters, and amalgam fillings for back teeth where more rugged chewing function occurs.
Thanks to advanced materials science, however, today’s composite fillings are known to withstand higher stress loads and also for their fracture-resistant properties. Compared to amalgam fillings, composite fillings also require less removal of your healthy tooth structure – due to the more advanced bonding procedure involved.
In short, it is ultimately your choice. If you have any further questions or specific requirements, our dentist will be happy to address them at your next visit.
Why remove old dental amalgam fillings
If you grew up in the “drill and fill” era of dentistry in the 70s, you would likely have come across amalgam fillings or even have had them inserted in your teeth at one point. Those silver-coloured fillings – also referred to as “silver” or “mercury” fillings – were a very popular restoration material used by dentists in those days.
There is a lot of controversy concerning the mercury component of this filling material. Mercury is a toxic material that is considered as dangerous as lead and arsenic. Dental amalgam fillings are made up of 50% or more mercury. The amalgam also consists of approximately 35% silver, 9% tin, 6% copper and a trace of zinc.
Whilst it should be noted that exposure is extremely low, concerns over the health effects regarding constant mercury exposure remains. Mercury evaporates as a vapour every time you brush, swallow, chew or grind your teeth or consume hot food and beverages. When you swallow, your teeth come into contact and cause a friction on an existing amalgam filling. A person swallows on average about 3000 times a day.
Toxic exposure to mercury have been associated with a variety of medical conditions including: Autoimmunity, kidney dysfunction, Alzheimer’s disease, infertility, multiple sclerosis and an impaired immune system. It can also cause depression, poor memory, fatigue and some psychological disorders.
At Molonglo Dental Surgery, our Canberra dentists specialise in safe dental filling removal offering a non-toxic and safe alternative to mercury fillings.
Our highly trained dental team is fully equipped to minimise your exposure to toxic gases during the amalgam removal process.
There are many reasons to consider a safe amalgam removal and replacing the old amalgams with white cavity filling, also known as white fillings or white composites.
From a cosmetic perspective, the white fillings provide a more aesthetic option for those who are concerned about having a metallic layer on their teeth. From a distance and under certain lighting conditions, the silver-coloured amalgams often look like dark holes on your teeth – which frankly, isn’t the look you’d be going for!
Conversely, the white fillings are made of an extremely strong and long-lasting composite material that blends in seamlessly with the rest of your pearlies. They make your smile look natural and healthy – which is the look that you’d be happy to show everyone.
These safe alternative dental fillings contains zero trace of mercury, thus pose no danger of developing serious medical conditions from mercury exposure. \
Given that mercury is one of the most toxic non-radioactive elements known to humankind, getting them removed from your teeth and mouth seems to be the most instinctive thing to consider doing. No matter how minute the amounts or exposure risk they pose, these pools of toxic liquid metal used to fill the cavity remain in your mouth long after the dentist has placed them there.
The World Health Organization states that more than all other sources of mercury, dental amalgam fillings are responsible for the majority of mercury found in human beings. Meanwhile. the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) has petitioned governments to limit the use of mercury amalgams. A partial ban of metal amalgam fillings has also been approved in the EU.
Since there are no adverse effects associated with dental amalgam removal but leaving it in your mouth poses a health risk, it is certainly a procedure worth considering.
What does a safe amalgam removal procedure mean?
At Molonglo Dental Surgery, our Canberra dentist follows extensive safety protocols for removal of existing dental mercury amalgam fillings, including detailed protective measures that are utilised for the procedure.
In addition to standard safe amalgam removal techniques including the use of masks, water irrigation, and high volume suction. We further supplement these conventional strategies with a number of additional protective measures, all of which are based on available scientific evidence.
In our safe amalgam removal procedure, our highly experienced clinicians practice cutting, instead of grinding, the amalgam into chunks in order to minimise aerosolising the amalgam. Grinding the amalgam has the potential to form mercury vapour particles which can be inhaled. We also use water spraying to lower the temperature in the mouth and reduce vapour pressure within the mercury.
MDS dentists insist on using rubber dams to isolate the area and catch amalgam debris. This is important as the rubber dam protects the patient’s airway and prevents the patient from swallowing all the water and debris. Saliva ejectors are also placed behind the rubber dam and once the amalgam is removed the rubber dam is also removed and rinsed. For the patient, the rubber dam process also results in a more comfortable and relaxing experience.
We also use a high volume suction device in the patients’ mouth to prevent any excess mercury vapour being ingested.
Finally, our dentists will conduct a thorough inspection of the tooth to make sure that all of the amalgam has been safely excavated.
How long do white fillings last?
Like all types of fillings, white composite fillings do not last forever. However, they can last a long time, even up to decades long. As well as being a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth. They provide further support because they are chemically bonded to the tooth’s structure.
White, plastic, or tooth-coloured fillings, white composite fillings are made up of a mixture of powdered glass and plastic resin. Although white fillings don’t last as long as metal fillings like amalgams, they can last on average for about 7-10 years. That’s why many dentists recommend them as an incredibly strong and successful treatment for most cavities, particularly those in visible areas due to their extremely natural-looking aesthetics.
Are dental amalgam removals painful?
The amalgam filling removal process is similar to having a regular cavity treated filled. Local anaesthesia is used to anaesthetise the teeth so the treatment is largely painless. The treated area may feel tender and bruised after the treatment. However, this sensitivity generally subsides over a couple of days.
To find out more about our White Filling treatments and Safe Amalgam Removal process, call our friendly team at Molonglo Dental Surgery on 02 62871222