Mercury Controversy

Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry

You probably know that mercury is a toxin and has been banned to varying degrees in many countries. Dr. Lindsey Marshall is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most advanced procedures, technology and products available. Dr. Marshall believes it is her responsibility to minimize your exposure to any possible risks.

Because of the controversy over dental use of mercury and metal and the possible threat to your health, we have chosen to make our office metal-free and mercury-free. Instead of metal amalgam and gold, we use tooth colored composite and dental porcelain. Both of these materials are matched in shade to your natural teeth, and they offer greater safety and visual appeal than any metal restorations.

Porcelain veneers are one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures. Crowns can be made of porcelain and porcelain fillings strengthen your tooth rather than weakening it. We also offer tooth colored fillings that use a tooth colored composite instead of mercury amalgam, and these also strengthen your tooth through direct bonding.

The Mercury Issue

Mercury is classified as a neurotoxin. Metal amalgam fillings consist of 50% mercury mixed with zinc, copper, silver and tin. It is known that mercury vapor is released from metal fillings when you chew, but it is not yet clear whether that amount of vapor is significantly harmful.

Some studies have found no adverse effects from amalgam fillings, but others have found a correlation between the number and size of metal fillings in the teeth and the levels of mercury in body tissues. The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) opposes the use of amalgam, although the American Dental Association still asserts that mercury in fillings is safe.

Use of amalgam has been declining steadily in the U.S. as the public has become more aware of the potential threat to general health.

To protect you from any unnecessary health risk, Dr. Marshall has chosen not to offer metal fillings. She can replace your old metal fillings with either tooth-colored fillings using dental composite or porcelain fillings, if you would like to have that done. Safety precautions would be taken against mercury vapor and particles.

Tooth Damage From Metal Amalgam

Besides raising the mercury risk, amalgam fillings will eventually fracture the teeth they fill because the metal expands and contracts with every hot and cold substance put into the mouth. This puts ongoing stress on the tooth enamel.

There are other ways that amalgam fillings hurt your teeth:

  • They are not bonded to the tooth, but are packed tightly into the cavity
  • They exert outward pressure on the tooth’s perimeter, rather than pulling the tooth together as a porcelain filling does
  • The teeth must have healthy tissue removed to shape a cavity that will hold them in
  • As the enamel thins with age, the dark metal shows through, discoloring the whole tooth

Metal fillings look unattractive, marring your smile with their dark gray color. Some people find they have an allergy to one or more of the metals in the amalgam.

If you would like to have your mercury fillings or gold crowns replaced with newer, safer, and more aesthetically pleasing materials, please contact us at (610) 649-0696 for a consultation. Our cosmetic dentistry office serves Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and we hope to work with you soon.

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