Different types of fillings


Fillings are a great way to boost your smile and improve your confidence. These transform your smile completely. There are 3 Types of fillings known of and these are:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Composite fillings

All of these do the same job which is helping to protect your teeth. However they may also have disadvantages.

Are you interested in having fillings?

If yes, then it would be useful to look for the advantages for each different type of filling. You can then book a consultation with a cosmetic dentist.

Dental Amalgam Fillings

Dental amalgam (silver fillings) came into use in 1830. Dental amalgam is a metal alloy consisting of approximately 50% mercury, 40% silver and the remaining 10% is a combination of tin, copper and zinc.

In 1840 the American Society of Dental Surgeons prohibited its members from using amalgam because of the dangerous mercury content (Mercury is highly toxic). This prohibition directly led to the formation of the American Dental Association, which promoted this new cheap and easily-used material to the mass population. Prior to amalgam fillings, only wealthy people could afford the traditional gold fillings, which resulted in most people going without dental treatment.

Until recently, the official position has been that mercury within an amalgam filling cannot escape after the material has hardened. However, the opposite has been indisputably and scientifically demonstrated. Mercury vapour does escape from amalgam fillings in measurable and significant quantities whenever one chews or has a hot drink. Also if a person grinds their teeth, which is a very common involuntary action during sleep, called bruxism, then the level of mercury released can be much higher.

In addition, the quality of amalgam can vary greatly. High-grade amalgam has a high silver content and low mercury content, whilst poor quality amalgam has low silver content and high mercury content. The low-grade material tends to corrode easily and release more mercury, more easily. Low-grade amalgam is predominantly used in the NHS system in the United Kingdom, due to the low cost of the material. One very commonly sees very poor quality amalgam indeed which has very low silver content and quickly corrodes and disintegrates.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that the greatest exposure to mercury in the general population is from dental amalgam. The WHO has also stated that there is no accepted safe level of mercury in the body. Mercury vapour released from amalgam fillings is inhaled into the lungs and then absorbed into the blood stream. It then accumulates in the brain, central nervous system and major organs. Mercury is a heavy metal ( like Lead and Cadmium ) and is not easily eliminated from the body.

Mercury Poisoning

The two levels of mercury poisoning are “Acute” and “Chronic”.

Acute poisoning develops from a single significant exposure to a relatively large quantity of mercury, such as a fractured thermometer or industrial spillage. The Victorians were well aware of the effect of prolonged exposure to significant levels of mercury because of their large hat making industry.

Hence, the origin of the phrase “mad as a hatter”, due to mercury poisoning causing massive deterioration of the brain and central nervous system of the hat makers, who were continually exposed to mercury used in the hat making process. This is classic “heavy metal” poisoning.

Chronic mercury poisoning is due to sustained exposure to very low levels of mercury which can have a range of physical and mental symptoms. There is considerable variation between individuals regarding “sensitivity” to mercury and its potential effects at low levels. It is for this reason that many health practitioners of varying kinds consider it best avoided, though the official line of the dental community is that at such low levels it is completely safe. For many people it is safe, though for many it might not be and for some people it may be really quite dangerous. One simply cannot be certain of the potential effects of this material, hence in my view it is best avoided.

Categories: Health