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Posts for tag: fillings

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
September 28, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: fillings  

Over the last century and a half millions of people have had a tooth cavity filled with “silver” amalgam. Perhaps you’re one of them. The use of this effective and durable filling has declined in recent years, but only because of the development of more attractive tooth-colored materials.

At the same time there’s another issue that’s been brewing in recent years about this otherwise dependable metal alloy: the inclusion of mercury in amalgam, about half of its starting mixture. Various studies have shown mercury exposure can have a cumulative toxic effect on humans. As a result, you may already be heeding warnings to limit certain seafood in your diet.

So, should you be equally concerned about amalgam fillings — even going so far as to have any existing ones removed?

Before taking such a drastic step, let’s look at the facts. To begin with, not all forms of mercury are equally toxic. The form causing the most concern is called methylmercury, a compound formed when mercury released in the environment combines with organic molecules. This is the form certain large fish like salmon and tuna ingest, which we then ingest when we eat them. Methylmercury can accumulate in the body’s tissues where at high levels it can damage various organ systems.

Dental amalgam, on the other hand, uses elemental mercury. Dentists take it in liquid form and mix it with a powder of other metals like silver, tin and copper to create a pliable paste. After it’s placed in a prepared cavity, the amalgam hardens into a compound in which the mercury interlaces with the other metals and becomes “trapped.”

Although over time the filling may emit trace amounts of mercury vapor, it’s well below harmful levels. You’re more likely to encounter “un-trapped” mercury in your diet than from a dental filling. And scores of studies over amalgam’s 150-year history have produced no demonstrable ill effects due to mercury.

Although it now competes with more attractive materials, amalgam still fills (no pun intended) a necessary role. Dentists frequently use amalgam in less visible back teeth, which encounter higher chewing pressures than front teeth. So, if you already have an amalgam filling or we recommend one to you, relax — you’re really in no danger of mercury poisoning.

If you would like more information on dental amalgam fillings, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
August 01, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

If we've told you that you require dental fillings find out why composite fillings may be the way to go.fillings

Finding out you have a cavity is certainly never fun, but our Pittsburgh, PA, cosmetic dentist, Dr. Gary Machiko, makes the process as easy as possible so that you don’t have to fret. Getting a tooth filled won’t hurt a bit and you’ll be happy to hear that we can even restore the tooth without having to place unsightly metal fillings.

What are composite fillings?

When some people smile you may notice specks of metal in some of their teeth. This is because their dentist placed metal amalgam fillings to restore those teeth after a cavity. While this used to be the norm decades ago, dental technology has made it possible to place tooth-colored fillings so that no one will even know that you have fillings.

Composite resin is a great material because it is easy to mold and shape to your tooth. Better yet, our Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist will use a shade guide to determine the perfect color of resin we should use to restore your tooth.

How are composite resin fillings placed?

Immediately after removing the decayed portions of the tooth we will get to work restoring it with a filling. Since this resin is putty-like, we can apply it in thin layers. Each layer, after being shaped, is hardened with a laser. Once the filling is complete we will give it a good polish so that it shines like the rest of your tooth.

What are the benefits of composite fillings?

One of the most obvious benefits is that no one will even know that you have a filling when you smile. You’ll feel confident knowing that no one will be able to tell. There is nothing more important than having a tooth that is fully restored and healthy, and composite fillings can offer that. Apart from the cosmetic advantages, cosmetic fillings can also make a tooth stronger and more resilient.

If you are interested in getting aesthetic dentistry in Pittsburgh, PA, turn to the specialists who will be able to make this happen for you. Call us today to find out more about the many great dental services we can offer you and your smile.