Why Dentists are Moving Away From Mercury Fillings and Toward Alternative Materials

NORTHAMPTON, EAST LONGMEADOW AND SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS-For years, silver amalgam was the standard filling material used in dental practices. With concerns related to the possible side effects of amalgam coupled with the fact that metal fillings often do not bond as well to the tooth as composite materials and can actually mask decay in X-rays, composite fillings are now considered state-of-the-art. The doctors of EMA Dental are pleased to offer composite fillings. They are natural-looking, do not contain metal and can actually strengthen your teeth.

“As dentists, it is our duty to constantly evaluate the techniques and tools we use to treat patients,” said Dr. Vincent Mariano, a Northampton dental implantsspecialist and prosthodontist. “It should be our goal to protect our patients’ oral and overall health while providing the best solution to their dental problems.”

“Mercury in Dental Amalgam and Resin-Based Alternatives: A Comparative Health Risk Evaluation” was published June 13 by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, Health Care Research Collaborative of the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and Health Care Without Harm. It reports that using resin composite or other substitutes for amalgam fillings may not be as harmful to the public’s health and the environment.

Co-author of the study Dr. Peter Orris claims that dental use of amalgam largely contributes to the environmental mercury burden and can cause damage to fetuses’ neurological development.

Any type of stimulation can cause amalgam fillings to release mercury, the vapors of which can pass through cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier into yourcentral nervous system. This transfer of mercury can cause psychological, neurological and immunological problems.

The effects of dental mercury are not limited to the patients on which it is used. In 2003, dental offices contributed 50 percent of the mercury that was present in Publicly-Owned Waste Water Treatment Works, according to the report.

Dental fillings are used to “fill” areas where decay is removed, or fix teeth that are broken, cracked or worn down. Resin composite fillings, which are made of plastic and reinforced glass, are becoming more popular.

“Composite fillings are less harmful to the environment and restoration patients,” said Dr. Lisa Emirzian, who offers teeth whitening at EMA Dental, her East Longmeadow dental practice. “They also help preserve healthy tooth matter and last as long as amalgam fillings do.”

Northampton dentists like Dr. Mariano and Dr. Emirzian are trained professionals who are concerned about your oral and overall health. Because they have your best interest in mind, you can be sure that they use only the safest dental products when they provide treatment.

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