What You Need to Know About Composite Fillings and Mercury Fillings

Every week, we get questions in our Clearwater dental office about composite fillings and mercury fillings. “Are mercury fillings safe?” our patients want to know. “What is a composite filling?” they ask.

“Our patients also ask us about removing mercury fillings,” says Dr. Jergins, of ClearWhite Dental. “Before I  remove mercury fillings and replace them with composite fillings, or resin composite fillings as they are also known, I like our patients to be informed.

“We do remove old silver mercury when we need to,” says Dr. Jergins.  “But it’s best not to remove it unless necessary, as the removal process actually releases more mercury in gaseous form than if the fillings are left as they are.”

And, with a recent news report that contends that the FDA did not release the latest news about mercury fillings, we hope this post helps you to make an informed decision.

So here’s what you need to know about composite fillings and mercury fillings:

1. What Are Composite Fillings?  Composite fillings are resin-based and are often called white dental fillings, because their color can be made in shades of natural teeth.

“Composite fillings really do give teeth a natural look,” says Dr. Jergins. “They are also very comfortable. The ADA says that composite dental fillings are now the number one choice for patients.”  And, the cost difference between mercury fillings and amalgam fillings is very small.

2. Are Mercury Fillings Safe? Both the FDA and the American Dental Association, as well as respected health organizations like the Mayo Clinic, have found mercury fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, to be safe for most of the general public. (This is the current statement on mercury fillings From the ADA’s site.)

Of course, the best filling is no filling at all, meaning that preventative care is really the gold standard for dental care.