Dental amalgams are made up of approximately 50% mercury, 30% silver, 14% tin, 8% copper and other trace metals. Over the years, there has been much debate about the safety of amalgam fillings, and their potential to slowly leak mercury into the blood system, causing a variety of health concerns. While small amounts of mercury from amalgams do get into the blood, they are poorly absorbed by the body and are removed from the blood by the kidneys and excreted out of the body in the urine. Interestingly, people consume foods containing mercury all the time, and as long as the amounts are very small, these cause no harm to health. The use of dental amalgam has been supported by the Australian Dental Association and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
We recognise that when removing amalgam in ladies who are pregnant or lactating, it is recommended that a rubber dam is used.
At our practice we use fillings which are tooth-coloured (made up of composite resin or glass ionomer) to restore decayed teeth. The dentist effectively places the composite in layers, using a light specialised to harden each layer. The dentist can finish off by shaping the composite to fit the tooth and then polishing the composite to prevent staining and early wear.
The main advantage of composite fillings is that they can be made to match your particular tooth colour, thereby giving the patient an almost invisible restoration that looks natural. Furthermore, composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps prevent breakage.