What is a “mercury free dentist”?
It is a dentist who has chosen not to place traditional amalgam fillings, both for aesthetic purposes, and because of potential issues surrounding the mercury content in the amalgam material. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of having mercury in their mouths. The alternative, composite white fillings, are much more attractive, and are mercury-free.
Some holistic physicians in the Baton Rouge area recommend Dr. Perry when their patients want to have their amalgam fillings removed. If you and your physician are interested in pursuing this option, Dr. Perry has experience with this procedure.
White Fillings vs. Amalgam Fillings
A comparative discussion of the two different types of fillings may shed some light on the topic.
Amalgam fillings, also called silver fillings, are close to 50% mercury by weight. As most people know, mercury is toxic, even in very small quantities. In recent years, the safety of using mercury in fillings has come under fire. The most recent research indicates that small amounts of mercury vapor are released when someone with mercury fillings chews, but that research is inconclusive about whether or not that vapor is harmful to the body.
Most people would prefer to err on the side of caution and avoid the use of anything involving mercury.
On its own, amalgam is stronger than the white composite, but the material in amalgam fillings actually weakens the remaining tooth structure. White composite material bonds to the tooth, making the sum total stronger than a tooth restored with an amalgam filling.
Additional advantages of white composite fillings are that less of the natural tooth structure has to be removed to place the filling, and the white composite material seals the tooth against further decay.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the preference for white composite fillings is hardly worth debating. In the hands of a well-trained expert dentist like Dr. Perry, white composite fillings are virtually undetectable, while amalgam fillings are ugly and impossible to hide, even in the back of the mouth.
|Amalgam fillings in place.
|The same teeth, with the amalgam fillings replaced with white composite fillings. Notice that the white fillings look like a natural part of the teeth.
The main advantage of amalgam fillings is that they are much easier to place, thus they tend to be less expensive and any licensed dentist has to be able to place them competently. Training to place white composite fillings is not yet required at most dental schools. Dr. Perry has completed the additional training necessary to place white composite fillings, even in the back molars where isolation from fluids is a challenge for untrained dentists.