Can you tell me the difference between a dentist and a mercury-free dentist? My particular dentist says that the mercury-free just offers fewer treatment options. Yet, even with him saying there are fewer options, I keep hearing how important it is to go to a mercury-free dentist.
If by fewer options, your dentist means healthier options then I’d agree with him. Maybe he’s just wanting to justify the fact that he still uses mercury. Many dentists still do.
The difference is in the name. A mercury-free dentist doesn’t use any materials which contain mercury. I’m guessing you already figured that out. Sadly, the main ingredient in common amalgam (silver) fillings is mercury, a known toxic substance.
Of course, I need to preface before we discuss which type of dentist it is better to go to, the American Dental Association (ADA) still says that amalgam fillings are safe. However, you can likely understand that people are a tad uncomfortable having a tooth filled with mercury.
Because of that, some dentists want to assure their patients that none of their fillings will contain mercury. They do that so patients don’t have to worry about arguing with their dentist about not wanting amalgam fillings.
The Benefits of a Mercury-free Dentist
Another benefit of going to a mercury-free dentist is in case you need to have an amalgam filling removed. Many patients feel that the mercury negatively impacts their health and want to have the fillings replaced. If you do that with a dentist who doesn’t know how to do a sanitary amalgam removal, you will end up with a dangerous amount of mercury vapors in the removal process.
Mercury becomes liquid at room temperature. Therefore, they need to keep cold water on it and use a stopper dam to keep you from swallowing any.
Once your fillings are removed, you can have them replaced with white composite fillings. Not only do they match your natural tooth color, but they strengthen the bond on your teeth. Amalgam fillings weaken your teeth.
One word of caution. If any of your current fillings are on visible parts of your teeth when you smile and you’ve ever considered getting your teeth whitened, be certain to do the whitening process before you get your fillings placed. That way the dentist can match them to your new, whiter color. They won’t change colors once they’re placed.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Tammy Tran.