Paul Y. Lin, D.D.S. 82 Townsend Street San Francisco Ca 94107
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We are a mercury-free practice. However, many people still have silver/mercury (amalgam) fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, amalgam fillings often result in a weaker tooth structure.

Tooth Color Restorations

Tooth-colored (also known as resin or composite) restorations and porcelain inlays are fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and strong due to new bonding technologies.

Disadvantages of Silver (Amalgam) Fillings

While amalgam fillings remain strong, and while there is no scientific evidence that directly links amalgam to any health issues or harms, they have a few drawbacks and there may be good reason to replace them. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak, or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and allows decay to develop again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split.

Amalgams contain 50 percent mercury. They can corrode, leak and cause stains on your teeth and gums.

Occasionally amalgam fillings can safely be replaced with tooth colored restorations. If the fillings are large and/or there’s additional decay on the tooth, an onlay or a crown may be recommended to better protect the tooth.

 Advantages of Tooth-Colored (Composite, Resin) Restorations

Before tooth color restoration
Before tooth color restoration

After tooth color restoration
After tooth color restoration

There are many advantages to tooth colored restorations. Resin or composite restorations are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can occasionally be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.

However, just like the amalgams, if the restorations are large and/or there’s more decay, an onlay or a crown may be recommended to better protect the tooth.