Tooth Colored Fillings & Bonded Restorations (Mercury – BPA Free)
We are a mercury-free practice. However, many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure. Porcelain inlays and Tooth Colored Restorations (onlays) create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
Disadvantages of Silver fillings:
Silver fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and lets cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split.
Silver fillings contain in excess of 50 percent mercury. They can corrode, leak and off gas into your body, and cause stains on your teeth and gums.
Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with Tooth-Colored Restorations.
Mercury Filtration System for Your Protection
Even though Silver/Mercury Amalgam fillings are easily drilled out and replaced, it is key to protect the patient from “off gassing” of Mercury during the removal with a high speed handpiece. We have invested in a special filtration system in our office for use while removing old and broken down Silver/Mercury Amalgam fillings. We believe it is key to remove them safely and without release into your lungs, oral tissues, and saliva causing systemic release into your blood stream where it can travel to vital organs, arteries, central nervous system, and brain. The release of the Mercury happens during the drilling process with the high speed handpiece to remove the old fillings. This happens because the handpiece utilizes air and water for cooling during the procedure creating an aerosol of Mercury as it separates during the drilling process. Avoiding ingestion is only full proof if the correct procedures are utilized.
We are proud to say that we have not offered Silver / Mercury Amalgam fillings in our practice for over 20 years!
Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!
The result is a beautiful smile!
Replacing Silver Fillings with a Tooth Colored Composite Restoration
There are two types of Tooth Colored Restorative Procedures available in our office. The first is with Direct Fill Composite Restorations. Direct Fill Composite Fillings were first introduced to the American public in the mid 1960’s. Since that time tooth colored filling materials have undergone continual improvements in durability, esthetics and material handling. The most versatile and widely used tooth colored filling today is composite resin filling. A composite is a material in which filler particles are encased in and bound together by a hard matrix material. For composite resin fillings a fluid matrix of an acrylic, called BIS-GMA, is hardened around glass filler particles to form composite resin. Trace metals (e.g. cobalt, gold and copper) give color to the glass while zirconium and titanium oxides add opacity.
BPA Free, Metal Free Fillings & Bondings
Many people seek the aesthetic aspect of composite fillings and bondings, and yes, metal free fillings are more attractive. However, there are far greater health advantages to using Bishphenol A (BPA) and metal free fillings and bondings.
Scientists agree that dental amalgam fillings (also known as silver or metal fillings which contain 50% mercury) do leach mercury into the mouth, and may contribute too many health issues. Bishphenol A, better known as BPA, is a controversial chemical found in plastics which has also been linked to health illnesses. Dental resin materials, like composite fillings and bondings, contain BPA. Similar to metal fillings that leach mercury, studies found oral enzymes from saliva release BPA from resin dental materials.
Health-conscious patients want safe alternatives and are seeking not only metal free alternatives, but BPA free as well. Dentists have an option when choosing their products and BPA FREE resin materials can be selected. Dr. Kachele and Associates use BPA FREE materials.
Conserving a patient’s natural tooth and using safe materials has always been of the utmost importance to Dr. Kachele and Associates. This is why they advocate the use of Bishphenol A (BPA) free and metal free fillings and bondings.
BPA free composites are the best alternative to amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings expand and contract with the changing temperature of your mouth (cold/hot drinks/foods). This movement weakens the tooth wall which fractures the tooth allowing bacteria to enter, resulting in dental decay and disease. However, composite materials like white resin or even porcelain, actually bond to the tooth verses amalgam with are placed in your tooth, and are not affected by changing temperatures allowing them to hold up under daily wear.
Composite resin or metal free fillings are also a more conservative option since Dr. Kachele & Assocates remove less of the healthy, natural tooth for composite fillings/bondings verses amalgam. All of this results in a longer life span of the filling.
Benefits of BPA, Metal-Free Fillings & Bondings
- Requires minimal amount of healthy tooth structure to be removed
- Bonds to the tooth restoring strength
- More stable than mercury amalgam
- Provides a tighter seal
- More resistant to fracturing
- Does not react to temperature changes resulting in weakening of the tooth like amalgam
- Aesthetically pleasing tooth appearance
- Take less time to harden than amalgam fillings
Learn More About BPA Fillings and their linked to behavior issue in children
How are composite resin fillings placed?
Tooth colored composite fillings are chemically bonded to teeth. For this reason, the placement of white fillings does not always require numbing the area being restored. Numbing (anesthetizing) the area is often required if tooth decay has progressed beneath the enamel layer and into the underlying dentin layer which surrounds the nerve of the tooth. Once decay is removed, the tooth is cleaned and a primer (weak acid) is applied to the area being restored. The primer opens pores in the enamel and dentin. A bonding agent is then flowed into the open pores and cured. Curing prepares the bonding agent to adhere to the tooth colored filling material. The filling material is then placed inside the tooth. After shaping the tooth colored filling material to resemble the natural anatomy of your tooth it is hardened by curing with a strong curing light. Once the white filling hardens, your bite will be checked to make sure your teeth fit together properly. If the tooth filling extends into the space between your teeth your dentist will also make sure you can floss between your teeth properly. Adjustments will be made if necessary followed by smoothing and polishing of your new filling.
What are the alternatives to composite resin (tooth colored) fillings?
Alternatives to composite resin fillings vary depending upon the:
(a) Size of the area to be restored
(b) Strength required of the filling material
(c) Esthetics desired
Replacing Silver fillings with Porcelain Inlays and Onlays
You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored restorations (onlays). This process requires two appointments.
Your First Appointment:
- The old filling is removed along with any additional decay.
- An impression is made of your teeth. A model of your teeth is made and sent to the lab.
- A temporary onlay is placed on the tooth.
At the Lab: A resin is carefully placed into the model of your teeth. It is then designed to look natural.
Your Second Appointment:
- The temporary onlay is removed.
- A conditioning gel is placed on your tooth to prepare it for the new onlay.
- Bonding cement is placed on the tooth and a high intensity light bonds the resin to the tooth.
- The tooth is then polished.
Your teeth are restored to a natural look and feel, they are stronger and the tooth is protected!