Cosmetic Dentistry Mercury vs. Tooth Colored Fillings

Lake Oswego Dentist Serving Portland, & Nearby West Linn, OR

Unlike traditional metal mercury fillings, tooth colored fillings:

  • Look like natural tooth enamel
  • Bond to the surface of the tooth, eliminating shrinking and expansion that can cause damage to both the filling and the tooth
  • Do not become dingy and worn-looking with age
  • Do not contain mercury, which may cause serious health problems when in your mouth for years

Disadvantages of metal fillings

As part of our practice, we frequently replace traditional metal mercury fillings with either tooth-colored fillings, or porcelain inlays or onlays. Most people prefer the clean, natural look of tooth-colored fillings over the metallic appearance of traditional metal mercury.

Besides looking unattractive, metal fillings:

  • Require more healthy tooth tissue to be removed for their placement. The cavity has to be a specified width, depth and shape to hold the metal filling in, as it is only held by mechanical retention, not by bonding.
  • Exert pressure outwards on the tooth, since they are packed tightly into the cavity rather than bonded to the tooth. This gradually weakens the tooth. In fact it can weaken the tooth by as much as 85%, eventually cracking it and causing it to need a crown.
  • Continually contract and expand in response to the hot and cold substances in the mouth, which also gradually weakens the tooth. Remember that mercury is used in thermometers, where it expands to indicate higher temperatures and contracts in lower temperatures.
  • Become darker with age, and even show through the tooth enamel, discoloring the tooth

Mercury concerns

Mercury is one of Earth’s elements and is known to be toxic. It has been linked to birth defects and neurological disorders. It makes up about 50% of the dental mercury used for fillings.

So far there are few large studies of the effects of mercury in tooth fillings, and those that do exist are inconclusive. It is known that the mercury in metal mercury does give off a mercury vapor which is absorbed by the body. Mercury gives off that vapor any time it is heated or during chewing. But it is not yet proven that the amount of mercury thus ingested is a serious threat to human health.

But why take the chance, especially when there are several other disadvantages to metal fillings? Portland Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Wendling and her cosmetic dentistry team offer both porcelain and dental composite for tooth fillings. They are the best ways to repair decayed teeth, and the best ways to maintain and beautify your youthful smile.

About tooth-colored fillings

Tooth-colored fillings are crafted from dental composite, also called dental bonding. This material consists of a safe mixture of resins, glass and other materials. It is formulated for maximum strength, safety, and durability.

For many types of tooth restoration, we also offer dental porcelain options such as porcelain inlays and onlays, porcelain veneers, and porcelain crowns.

Tooth-colored fillings are very technique-sensitive. In other words, they are best done by a fully-qualified cosmetic dentist. Dr. Wendling is not only a graduate of the world-renowned Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI), but was also an instructor there for many years, and has lectured at a variety of medical and dental events. You are in excellent hands having tooth-colored fillings done here, or having your old metal fillings replaced.

Our tooth-colored fillings are designed for maximum durability. Depending on the type and location of the filling, the condition of the tooth, whether the filling is of dental composite or dental porcelain, and on your daily dental hygiene, your filling may last twenty years or more.

Your personal consultation
To learn more about the benefits of tooth colored fillings over metal mercury, and to have a thorough personal assessment, call or email our Cosmetic Dentistry serving Portland, Oregon today to schedule an appointment with Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Wendling. We offer a full range of cosmetic dentistry procedures to the residents of Portland, Oregon, and its surrounding areas. We look forward to meeting with you.

Portland Cosmetic Dentist

17437 Boones Ferry Road Suite 400
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035