Do you still have some amalgam fillings? Many people do, and while these silver-coloured restorations are hard-wearing, they are highly visible in the mouth. Additionally, these fillings contain mercury, which is understandably concerning.
Although the Canadian Dental Association maintains that amalgam is safe and effective as a filling material, it acknowledges that the use of dental amalgam is gradually being reduced worldwide due to potential environmental risks. The European Parliament voted to ban using amalgam fillings in children and pregnant and nursing women several years ago. In addition, some countries in the EU have banned its use completely, including Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, citing health and environmental concerns.
Thankfully, fewer dentists are using amalgam fillings, and many, like Bel Canto, have already chosen to become amalgam-free, moving away from a material that was originally developed decades ago. Nowadays, there is no need to use amalgam, and today’s modern restorative materials are far more effective and are free from any metals.
Equally importantly, these materials are kinder to teeth, restoring them biomimetically. That’s a huge word, but it just means that they closely mimic your natural tooth structure and work harmoniously with your oral health.
What are Biomimetic Fillings?
Biomimetic fillings are made from composite resin or porcelain. Both are tooth-coloured and can blend in beautifully with your natural teeth. Modern composite resin is durable and is perfect for restoring teeth that have small to medium-sized cavities. Generally, composite resin will last for several years before it needs replacing.
When a cavity is larger, composite resin may not be quite strong enough to repair the tooth successfully. In this case, Dr. Mackie may suggest a porcelain filling. Porcelain fillings are also called inlays and onlays, and these are ideal for restoring larger cavities in the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. Although slightly more expensive than composite resin, porcelain is extremely hard-wearing and looks beautiful, creating a restoration that lasts longer than composite.
Biomimetical just means that they closely mimic your natural tooth structure and work harmoniously with your oral health.
Why Are Biomimetic Fillings Better for Teeth?
When you have an amalgam filling, the dentist must prepare the tooth by removing all the decay and infection and part of the healthy tooth to create the right shape cavity to receive the filling material. Once placed, the amalgam will flex when it comes under pressure and slightly expands and contracts when it comes into contact with anything hot or cold. Over time, these micro-movements can create tiny fractures in teeth, weakening them.
In contrast, biomimetic fillings act in a very similar way to natural teeth. They don’t expand or contract. When preparing your teeth for these fillings, Dr. Mackie only needs to remove the damaged portion of the tooth, leaving more of the healthy tooth structure intact. Once placed in the tooth, biomimetic materials bond strongly to the tooth, sealing out harmful bacteria and protecting the tooth.
What If I Already Have Amalgam Fillings?
There is no need to worry if you currently have some amalgam fillings, as Dr. Mackie can assess them carefully. No filling material lasts forever, so they will need replacing at some point, as they can start to crumble and leak. When the time comes, he can ensure your fillings are removed as safely as possible.
When amalgam fillings are removed, they can release mercury vapour, and it is essential to ensure you and our staff do not inhale these vapours. We achieve this using high-volume evacuation and high-quality HEPA filters. We isolate the tooth with a dental dam made from latex-free material to ensure you do not swallow any fragments of the fillings. Once the amalgam is removed, we ensure it is disposed of correctly to not damage the environment.