Dental Filling Facts

Toxicity of Dental Materials

Dental Amalgam

Mercury, in its elemental form, is on the State of California's Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity. Mercury may harm the developing brain of a child or fetus.

Dental amalgam is created by mixing elemental mercury (43 - 54%) and alloy powder (46 - 57%) composed mainly of silver, tin, and copper. This has caused discussion about the risks of mercury in dental amalgam. Such mercury is emitted in minute amounts as vapor. Some concerns have been raised regarding possible toxicity. Scientific research continues on the safety of dental amalgam. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is scant evidence that the health of the vast majority of people with amalgam is compromised.

The Food and Drug Administration and other public health organizations have investigated the safety of amalgam used in dental fillings. The conclusion: no valid scientific evidence has shown that amalgams cause harm to patients with dental restorations, except in rare cases of allergy. The World Health Organization reached a similar conclusion.

A diversity of opinions exist regarding the safety of dental amalgams. Questions have been raised about its safety in pregnant women, children, and diabetics. However, scientific evidence and research literature in peer-reviewed scientific journals suggest that otherwise healthy women, child's, and diabetics are not at an increased risk from amalgams in their mouths. The FDA places no restrictions on the use of dental amalgam.

Composite Resin

Some Composite Resins include Crystalline Silica, which is on the State of California's proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer.

Dental Materials - Advantages & Disadvantages

Dental Amalgam Fillings

Dental amalgam is a self-hardening mixture of silver-tin-copper alloy powder and liquid mercury and is sometimes referred to as silver fillings because of its color. It is often used as a filling material and replacement for broken teeth.

Advantages:

Disadvantages



Composite Resin Fillings

Composite fillings are a mixture of powdered glass and plastic resin, sometimes referred to as white, plastic, or tooth-colored fillings. It is used for fillings, inlays, veneers, partial and complete crowns, or to repair portions of broken teeth.

Advantages:


Disadvantages


GLASS IONOMER CEMENT

Glass ionomer cement is a self-hardening mixture of glass and organic acid. It is tooth-colored and varies in transparency. Glass ionomer is usually used for small fillings, cementing metal and porcelain metal crowns, liners, and temporary restorations.

Advantages:

Disadvantages

RESIN-IONOMER CEMENT

Resin ionomer cement is a mixture of glass and resin polymer and organic acid that hardens with exposure to a blue light used in the dental office. It is tooth-colored but more translucent than glass ionomer cement. It is most often used for small fillings, cementing metal and porcelain metal crowns and lines.

Advantages:

Disadvantages


PORCELAIN (CERAMIC)

Porcelain is a glass-like material formed into fillings or crowns using models of the prepared teeth. The material is tooth-colored and is used in inlays, veneers, crowns and filled bridges.

Advantages:

Disadvantages

NICKEL OR COBALT-CHROME ALLOYS

Nickel and cobalt-chrome alloys are mixtures of nickel and chromium. They are a dark silver metal color and are used for crowns and fixed bridges and most partial denture frameworks.

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Disadvantages

PORCELAIN FUSED TO METAL

This type of porcelain is a glass-like material that is "enameled" on top of metal shells. It is tooth-colored and is used for crowns and fixed bridges.

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Disadvantages

GOLD ALLOY

Gold alloy is a gold-colored mixture of gold, copper, and other metals and is used mainly for crowns and fixed bridges and some partial denture frameworks.

Advantages:

Disadvantages


Dental Board of California
1432 Howe Avenue, Sacramento, California 95825
www.dbc.ca.gov
Published by California Department of Consumer Affairs
5/04

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