Mercury is a chemical element that has long been used in dentistry – typically as one of the metals found in amalgam fillings. To make amalgams, also known as silver fillings, mercury is added to an alloy powder, which helps make the compound soft enough to press into cavities. Mercury has traditionally been used for this purpose because it can harden quickly and, once hardened, withstand the forces of chewing and biting for several years.
Despite its long history of use, many concerns have arisen regarding the safety of mercury in dentistry. There is evidence that the mercury in dental fillings can be released when biting and chewing, and many suspect this could contribute to mercury poisoning – a condition marked by chronic fatigue, tremors, severe headaches, hearing loss, cognitive disruption, irritability, and mood swings. Mercury poisoning is also linked to central nervous system damage, cardiovascular disease, and death.
While the FDA and several other scientific and health organizations are continuing to collect data on the long-term effect mercury has on dental patients, it has been established that amalgam fillings are not safe for small children or pregnant women. In 2009, the FDA reclassified mercury as a “Class II” medical device, meaning they have found enough scientific evidence to suggest mercury poses “more risk” than its alternatives. Due to this mounting evidence and out of respect for the comfort and safety of our patients, Mission Viejo family dentist Dr. E.M. Makhoul has decided to only offer mercury-free restorations at our office.
"Dr. Makhoul and his staff are top notch, they listen to your every concern, get you in quick when needed, and very friendly. Actually looking forward to going to the dentist, that's how terrific they were. :)" - Juanita Belardes
If you would like to learn more about mercury-free dentistry in Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, and surrounding areas of California, please contact Makhoul Dentistry online or by calling (949) 364-3724 to schedule an appointment today.
- Tooth Colored Fillings
- Benefits offered by Tooth Colored Fillings, Inlays & Onlays
- Uses for Tooth Colored Restorations
- A Complete Smile Makeover
- Contact our Mercury-Free Mission Viejo Dental Practice
Tooth Colored Fillings
Tooth colored fillings are shaded to blend into your existing enamel. This benefit alone makes white fillings more attractive than their mercury-heavy alternative, but it is not the only benefit offered by this restoration.
With tooth colored fillings, our Mission Viejo dentist is able to preserve more of your healthy tooth structure. Amalgam fillings are packed into cavities where they can expand to fill the hole as they harden. This means that a cavity much larger than the one created by decay must be created – a process that requires drilling healthy tooth enamel out of the way.
By contrast, white fillings bond to the surface of teeth, allowing them to be placed without the removal of healthy enamel, which is much better for the long-term health of your smile.
The metal in amalgam fillings is strong and reliable, but not temperature stable. Mercury fillings expand and contract as temperatures change in the mouth. This movement is very slight, but over time it can weaken the tooth from the inside, eventually cracking or breaking it. In other instances, silver fillings will simply come loose and fall out.
Tooth colored fillings are bonded to the tooth’s surface and cannot fall out. Because they are not impacted by temperature changes, white fillings will not further damage teeth either. These benefits, in addition to their safety, have played a part in our decision to be a mercury-free dentistry practice.
Benefits offered by Tooth Colored Fillings, Inlays, and Onlays
Tooth colored restorations offer many advantages over metal amalgam fillings, such as:
- A reduced need for numbing in some cases
- Greater preservation of existing tooth structure
- Can restore any area of the tooth
- Nearly as strong as natural tooth enamel
- A natural looking and feeling end result
- A reduction in risks of sensitivity
- A fast, safe, and nontoxic solution for tooth decay
Composite fillings harden in seconds, contain no mercury, and can last just as long if not longer. Made to mimic the natural appearance of the tooth, these restorations can also be used to protect teeth that have been chipped or fractured.
If you have several unsightly amalgam fillings, they can be replaced with this safer and more attractive composite alternative – custom matched to your own teeth in about an hour at our mercury-free Mission Viejo dental office. If you are concerned about existing metal fillings, inlays or onlays and would like to learn more about restoring strength and beauty to your smile with tooth colored alternatives, please call us at (949) 364-3724 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Makhoul.
Uses for Tooth Colored Restorations
At Makhoul Dentistry we use composite resin that is shaded and sculpted to integrate seamlessly into teeth that have been weakened by decay. When a filling alone will not be sufficient for treating damage, Dr. Makhoul can also provide porcelain inlays or onlays, or tooth colored metal free dental crowns. Dental bonding, another tooth colored and mercury-free option, can also be used to address many cosmetic and functional issues.
Depending on your needs, our Mission Viejo dentist may suggest tooth colored restorations to treat:
- Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
- Spaces and gaps in between teeth
- Uneven tooth sizes
- Irregular tooth shapes
- Crooked tooth presentation
- Exposed roots
- Severe discoloration
When issues are entirely cosmetic, Dr. Makhoul may suggest porcelain veneers instead of a composite resin to restore the appearance of the teeth.
The best restoration will depend on your specific needs. During your initial consultation, Dr. Makhoul will carefully assess your teeth and gums, discuss all of your treatment options, and help you choose those best suited to meet your needs.
A Complete Smile Makeover
If you have metal fillings that need to be replaced in addition to other cosmetic and functional issues, Dr. Makhoul may recommend a complete smile makeover. With this option, we can address every issue impacting your smile and produce a straight, white, and naturally attractive look you’ll be proud to show the world. A complete smile makeover is not necessary in every case, but can be very beneficial for patients with multiple oral health and beauty issues.
A mercury-free smile makeover may include:
- Tooth colored fillings
- Porcelain inlays or onlays
- Porcelain dental crowns
- Dental bonding
- Dental implants
- Tooth whitening
- Gum contouring
The best way to learn which options will be of the most benefit to your smile is through a one-on-one consultation at our comfortable and welcoming Mission Viejo office:
During this meeting we can also discuss things like sedation dentistry that can be used to help you feel completely at ease during your time in our care.