Glendale Dentist Explains The Importance Of Mercury-Free Dental Care

Written by Dr. McKay on May 10, 2022

Our Glendale dentist office is proud to offer mercury-free restorative options to our dental patients. You absolutely do not need to settle for an amalgam dental fillings that you don’t love. This article is going to give you more information about mercury’s role in dental care, and steps you can take to protect your smile.

Mercury In Dentistry

For many years, amalgam was the go-to material for fillings in restorative dentistry. When a cavity is removed from a tooth, the resultant hole needs to be repaired before the patient can comfortably and safely eat, drink, and clean their smile again.

Amalgam is made from a number of metals, including mercury. While the exact ratios may vary from filling to filling, generally speaking amalgam is comprised of tin, copper, silver, and mercury.

The number one question we get about amalgam fillings is whether patients need to be worried about mercury poisoning. The American Dental Association emphasizes that research has not shown a definitive link between amalgam and mercury poisoning. As long as your filling is in good shape, it’s safe. However, there are still a number of reasons that patients choose to avoid amalgam:

  • Aesthetics—amalgam fillings don’t blend in with the natural tooth structure. In fact, these fillings can make the entire teeth appear gray.
  • Tooth health—amalgam is heat-reactive; as you consume hot and cold things, your filling will expand and contract, respectively. Unfortunately, this can damage surrounding natural tooth structure.
  • Future risk—while structurally sound amalgam fillings do not pose a health risk, there is a risk that old, failing amalgam fillings can leach mercury.


If you don’t think that amalgam is right for you, there are a number of different restorative materials that may be better fits.

  • Composite: made of plastic and resin, this type of filling begins as a soft, moldable material, and is then cured with a light to harden. Many patients like composite fillings because they can be custom-shaded to match the patient’s enamel.
  • Ceramic: this type of fillings I made from porcelain, which makes it strong and natural looking. Another benefit of ceramic is that it resists environmental stains.
  • Gold: as with silver fillings, gold fillings are made of a mixture of metals and gold, not gold alone. However, they end up similarly colored to gold. This type of fillings is generally the longest lasting; it is also the most expensive type of restoration.

Our Glendale dentists are here to help you get the type of restorative care that you need to stay healthy and smiling. To learn more about dental fillings of any kind, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our dental team by phone or through our Contact Us page!