Which Type of Filling to Avoid at Your Dentist?

Which Type of Dental Filling Should You Avoid at Your Dentist?

One of the simplest dental procedures you can get at a dentist's office, other than teeth cleaning is to get a filling. Getting a dental filling is not a complicated procedure, and it usually does not take very long. A recent problem has been discovered concerning the connection between a certain type of tooth filling called amalgam fillings.

About Amalgam Fillings

Recent research seems to point to a connection between mercury amalgam fillings and multiple sclerosis (MS). These fillings are also often called silver fillings because they appear silver when installed. They contain about 50 percent of mercury along with silver, tin, zinc, and copper. They are known to be stronger than most other materials used for fillings.

The European Union is banning the use of mercury amalgam fillings by July 1, 2018, in children who are younger than 15, and also in women who are either pregnant or breastfeeding. One agency, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), claims that mercury has been linked to multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, depression, anxiety, fatigue, infertility, and more.

The FDA and Amalgams

In the United States, the FDA makes no such claims. While there is no doubt that mercury by itself is extremely toxic, the FDA believes that it is safe for everyone who is six or older when combined with other metals, such as those used in amalgams. They also state that it is not necessary to have existing mercury-based amalgams removed.

Tooth Colored Fillings

One of the most common dental fillings that are rapidly becoming more popular is tooth colored fillings. These fillings are white and closely match the color of your teeth. This makes them nearly invisible, and it makes you look like you have a healthy set of teeth.

Mercury May Cause Multiple Sclerosis

The element mercury exists all over the earth and people are exposed to it to some degree everywhere. It does not bother most people. However, one study conducted by the National Institute of Health on over 35,000 people discovered that there was a connection between the number of amalgam fillings and illnesses such as MS, epilepsy, and migraines. It is also known that more people develop MS in areas where mercury is high in the area, such as in metal smelters.

It has also been shown that mercury clings to the myelin sheath on nerve cells. This is a protective coating that acts as insulation. In some people who are more sensitive to mercury, their immune system attacks the mercury and the sheath, damaging the nerve. It also breaks down the barrier that exists between the blood and the brain. Removing the mercury sources has been shown to reduce the symptoms of MS.

Other Types of Fillings

  • Gold Fillings – A gold filling is considered to be the best material for it. It is strong and highly durable for all teeth. It can be expected to last at least 15 years or longer. The metal does not corrode. It is the most expensive type of filling and will require two office visits to install because it must be made in a lab.

  • Composite Fillings – A composite filling is made of the same material as that used for repairing a chipped tooth. They are made of a bonding agent combined with glass or quartz. They are best used for smaller fillings with moderate levels of chewing pressure. They will match the color of your teeth.

  • Ceramic Fillings – These fillings are usually made of porcelain and are tooth-colored. They are not easily stained but can cost almost as much as a gold filling.

  • Glass Ionomer Fillings – This type of dental filling is a mixture of acrylic and glass. It slowly releases fluoride to help preserve the tooth, but it is less durable than the other types. It may only last up to five years.

Possible Problems with Fillings

Over time, a filling may shrink some, which could enable bacteria to enter the space and cause problems, such as a new cavity. To correct it, a dentist will need to drill out the old filling, remove the damaged area, and put in a new dental filling. Fillings can also become damaged, and some may even break or fall out.

Tips for Cavity Prevention

Cavities are often caused by a lack of proper dental care or from eating too many sweets. You can help protect your teeth by brushing twice daily and flossing. Eating a healthy diet also helps to provide your teeth with the right nourishment to stay strong and it also helps strengthen the immune system in your gums.

When you have a cavity and need a dental filling, you can get various types at the office of Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist. He performs all types of restorative dentistry, including cosmetic dentistry, for all members of the family. He has offices in the Carrollton, TX and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation or dental treatment for better oral health, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.