Composite dental fillings are becoming a common alternative to amalgam fillings, primarily because of concerns over mercury toxicity. While composite resin is one of the safest fillers out there, it’s still important to ask questions at your dentist’s office about the exact materials used in your fillings.
A biological dentistry practice will make sure that their composite fillings are free of any toxic materials that may potentially cause you harm.
They will be able to answer any questions about composite resin used in fillings, sealants, and orthodontic materials. At the end of the day, not all composite fillings are created equal.
Are composite fillings toxic?
Composite fillings may be toxic if they contain Bisphenol A (BPA) or other toxic materials. As those fillings wear down over time, toxic materials used in a composite blend may seep into the oral cavity.
Generally, composite resin fillings are much safer than they used to be, but it’s always good to check with your dentist before you get your fillings. No two batches of composite resin are the same, and most contain a variety of acrylics and other materials that allow for a bonding effect.
A biological dentist using a whole-body approach will make sure your composite doesn’t contain BPA and other potentially harmful materials. Those materials may include 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and bisphenol A-glycidyl methacrylate (bis-GMA), a bonding agent.
That whole-body approach will also consider other reasons for oral pain. That includes dental cavitations or sleep disorders, even oral cancers, before turning to the drill as a primary response.
Can composite fillings cause health problems?
Composite fillings alone are not likely to cause health problems. The American Dental Association (ADA) has reported that low levels of BPA in some composite resins are not likely to cause long-term health care concerns.
The ADA has also not come out against mercury used in amalgam fillings as a public health concern. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t recommend removing amalgam fillings if they are not causing discomfort.
This kind of information can be frustrating to holistic practices or biological dentists who have firsthand seen the harmful effects of mercury vapor.
In terms of composite resin, researchers caution that more investigation is needed to determine the long-term effects of BPAs used in composite materials to combat tooth decay.
Excessive amounts of BPA exposure over time has been linked to various undesirable health effects:
- Hormone disruptions
- Reproductive problems
- Endocrine disorders
- Behavioral concerns in children
- Increased risk of hypertension and heart disease
Some resin composite fillings may also cause allergic reactions in patients. Reactions may look like a skin rash, itchiness, or swelling. Reactions to amalgam fillings are more common.
What is the safest dental filling material?
The safest dental filling materials for natural teeth are:
- Porcelain/ceramic: Porcelain fillings are safe for a tooth filling as long as they are not fused to existing metal fillings. When used on top of metal fillings, they can cause damage to the tooth structure and toxicity if they seep into the oral cavity.
- Glass ionomer (fluoride-free): These tooth-colored or white fillings are a safe option as long as they are fluoride-free. Fluoride use is linked to preventing caries or cavities, but it can also cause negative health effects when used in excess.
- Composite-resin (BPA-free): Composite fillings are considered a safe option when toxic materials are not used in the mixture. Regular dental checkups and strategies to address habits like teeth grinding will prolong the life of your fillings.
Composite fillings do come with some disadvantages. They can be more expensive than amalgam fillings and can become damaged over time with extensive wear or teeth grinding. Amalgam fillings are considered one of the most durable fillings, but they come with risks.
Dental amalgam fillings, sometimes called silver fillings, are considered the most dangerous restorative materials still widely used in dental offices today.
In more extreme cases, mercury has been linked to heavy metal poisoning, a severe condition that can cause neurological symptoms.
Patients worried about side effects of low levels of mercury look to dentists for mercury filling removal to replace silver amalgam fillings with natural solutions.
You may not know what kind of dental filling materials are used in your dentist’s office until you ask. At Rejuvenation Dentistry, you can rest assured that any fillings used by our dentists are safe and effective for your overall oral health.
Are you ready for the difference biological dentistry makes in your dental health? BOOK A CONSULTATION with us today in our East Hampton or Manhattan offices.