Mercury fillings are a common treatment for tooth decay and while safe, they may require removal at some point. Patients may choose removal for aesthetic reasons or it may be necessary for oral health.
Dentist Sharon B. Mateja provides examinations to evaluate oral health and determine when patients may benefit from removing mercury fillings.
Today we'll explore some of the reasons patients undergo mercury filling removal at Dr. Mateja's Rancho Cucamonga, CA, practice. To find out if mercury filling removal is right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.
What Are Mercury Fillings?
Mercury fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, are commonly used to treat tooth decay and have been used for over a century in dentistry.
Dental amalgam is made of a mixture of metals with mercury making up the largest proportion. Dental amalgam consists of about 50 percent elemental mercury, which is a liquid metal, with the rest of the amalgam mixture being a combination of silver, copper, and tin.
Are Mercury Fillings Safe?
Mercury can be toxic to humans if consumed in excessive amounts. Generally, mercury poisoning occurs from frequently eating certain types of seafood, like tuna and swordfish, and not from amalgam fillings.
Although mercury fillings consist of 50 percent mercury, the amount used in a dental filling is such a small amount that it's highly unlikely to cause health problems.
Further, according the American Dental Association, extensive research has been done on the safety of amalgam fillings and studies have consistently found these fillings to be safe.
Removing Mercury Fillings
Although the amount of mercury in dental fillings is not considered significant enough to cause adverse health problems, people with mercury fillings may still want or need to have them removed. Some reasons for mercury filling removal includes:
- Cracked or damaged amalgam filling
- Cracked or damaged tooth
- Tooth decay beneath the filling
- Loose filling
- Lost filling
Mercury Filling Replacement Options
Replacing mercury fillings can improve both the health and appearance of damaged teeth. At our Rancho Cucamonga practice, Dr. Mateja offers several options for replacing mercury fillings including:
- Tooth-colored fillings: Tooth-colored fillings are made of a strong resin and custom colored to match the surrounding tooth. The resin bonds directly to the tooth, helping to restore the strength of damaged teeth.
- Inlays and onlays: Inlays and onlays are another tooth-colored option for replacing old amalgam fillings. Inlays and onlays are used to restore the structure of teeth with large fillings and are sometimes called partial crowns.
- Dental crowns: For those with large amalgam fillings or dental damage too severe for treatment with tooth-colored fillings or inlays and onlays, dental crowns may be the best option. Dental crowns are porcelain, tooth-shaped restorations that fit over damaged teeth.
Learn More about Your Treatment Options
If you live in or around Rancho Cucamonga and would like to learn more about treatment options from Dr. Mateja, we welcome you to give us a call at (909) 989-5959 and schedule a consultation.