Over the past couple of decades, there has been a considerable shift in the materials dentists utilize for dental fillings, with many transitioning from traditional metal amalgam to metal-free white composite fillings. This change implemented by dentists like Dr. John Aurelia and the team at John L. Aurelia, D.D.S., PLLC in Rochester, Michigan, is driven by a combination of advancements in dental technology, patient preferences, and a growing awareness of how dental treatments interact and influence our whole body health. What follows are some common reasons dentists have shifted away from metal amalgam.
One of the primary reasons for the move from amalgam to composite fillings is the desire for a more cosmetically pleasing result. Amalgam fillings, made from a mixture of metals, including mercury, are silver in color and can be very apparent when you smile or talk. In contrast, composite fillings are tooth-colored and can be closely matched to the natural shade of the teeth, providing a more discreet and natural appearance. This aesthetic advantage is particularly important for visible teeth, such as those in the front of the mouth.
Amalgam fillings have long been debated in the dental community due to their mercury content. While numerous studies suggest that the levels of mercury exposure from amalgam fillings are generally considered safe, some patients and dentists have opted for composite fillings to eliminate any potential health concerns related to mercury. Composite fillings are made from a mixture of resin and fine glass particles, avoiding the use of mercury altogether.
Unlike amalgam, which requires significant removal of healthy tooth structure for placement, composite fillings bond directly to the tooth surface. This results in minimal removal of natural tooth material during the filling process, allowing for a more conservative and minimally invasive approach to dental care.
Concerns about the environmental impact of mercury in amalgam fillings have led to increased awareness and regulations regarding dental waste disposal. Composite fillings, being mercury-free, are considered more environmentally friendly. This consideration aligns with the broader trend within the dental community to adopt sustainable and eco-conscious practices.