Mercury Free Fillings at TenderCare Dental
When comparing amalgam with more current composite fillings, the issues concern more than appearance. Dr. Andrew Thompson, a dentist in Portland, Oregon at TenderCare Dental, practices the safe replacement of amalgam fillings with tooth-colored composite material.
Amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, are the traditional treatment for stopping the progression of tooth decay. Once a cavity forms, the decay is removed and replaced with a filling that helps maintain the health of the remaining tooth and your overall smile.
Facts About Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings are often referred to as silver because of their color. However, it’s important to note that these fillings are actually constructed from a combination of metal substances, including copper, tin, and mercury.
Amalgam fillings have been in widespread use for over 150 years, and have proven to be durable, inexpensive, and resistant to wear. Since mercury comprises more than half of the composition of amalgam used in dental fillings, they have increasingly been considered a hazard to both dental and overall health.
The Mercury Debate
Since so much of amalgam fillings contain mercury, a heated debate has developed in the dental health community regarding the safety of using amalgam fillings in the treatment of tooth decay. Mercury has long been identified as a poison, and cannot legally be thrown in the garbage or buried in the ground in the United States.
The fact remains that mercury can be absorbed into the body through the mouth. The issue is not whether or not mercury is dangerous to use when it comes to filling cavities, but whether enough mercury is present to cause long-term health problems in patients. Germany and Sweden have passed legislation that prevents the use of mercury fillings to treat tooth decay, and provide for the removal and replacement with fillings that do not contain mercury.
Although the organized dental community in the Unites States has deemed that amalgam fillings are safe, there’s a significant amount of scientific research that fuels the debate among those in the dental community.
The Amalgam or Composite Option
Dr. Thompson, a dentist in Portland, OR at TenderCare Dental, counsels his patients carefully when it comes to the use of amalgam and composite filling options to stop the progression of tooth decay.
Composite fillings have increased in popularity, offering a cost-effective and safe alternative to amalgam fillings. Composite fillings not only treat and prevent decay, they restore the function and beauty of teeth, creating a natural-looking and strong barrier to maintain dental function and health.
The Mercury-Free Protocol
Dr. Thompson, a dentist in Portland, Oregon, follows specialized mercury-safe protocols when removing mercury fillings and replacing them with tooth-colored composite restorations. The mercury-free protocol is available to our patients in the following TenderCare Dental offices:
- NW Portland TenderCare Dental
- Tigard TenderCare Dental
- North Plains TenderCare Dental
- Banks TenderCare Dental
Dr. Thompson and his team at TenderCare Dental incorporate the following steps to ensure the safety of patients and staff:
- Each patient breathes 100% oxygen through a nasal hood during the procedure.
- Dr. Thompson provides protective eyewear as well as barriers that cover patients’ clothing.
- A rubber dam is placed over the patient’s mouth to isolate the teeth that contain the mercury fillings, keeping all mercury filling material and vapors from being ingested by the patient.
- Dr. Thompson uses an electric handpiece with a combination water/air spray in order to remove the mercury fillings in large chunks. This minimizes the release of mercury by keeping the filling material cool and preventing it from being ground into a fine powder.
- High volume suction is applied directly next to the mercury filling, quickly and efficiently removing all mercury filling chunks and vapor from the patient’s mouth and preventing mercury exposure to the dentist and dental assistant.
- At TenderCare Dental, Dr. Thompson uses a state-of -the-art mercury amalgam separator which captures all the mercury from the high volume suction line so it can be disposed of properly in an environmentally friendly manner.
- Dr. Thompson works with patients and their physicians if extra precautions are needed such as detoxification or chelation procedures.
At TenderCare Dental, Portland, Oregon dentist Dr. Thompson informs and educates his patients concerning available options when it comes to amalgam and composite fillings. After listening to your concerns and providing the best information regarding your dental options, Dr. Thompson and his team provide the best materials and state-of-the-art technology to safely restore the beauty and strength of your smile.