Amalgam Removal

At Perfect Smile in Adelaide, Dr Henest has been offering mercury-free dentistry since 1986.

Composite Resin is the material of choice for restoring teeth to their former strength and beauty.  Gone is the need to use unsightly metal amalgams, which contain mercury.  In contrast to amalgam, composite resin is tooth-coloured and provides a more attractive and appealing smile.

We use composite resin or porcelain inlays/onlays which are bonded to the tooth structure to restore teeth or to replace old amalgam fillings, ensuring the aesthetics and function of your smile. Many people enjoy better health after having their old amalgams replaced.

What is dental amalgam?

Dental Amalgam is a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and other trace elements including copper.  Mercury, which makes up about 50 percent of the compound, is utilised to bind the metals together to provide a strong, hard, durable filling.  After years of research, mercury continues to be the only element that will bind silver and tin together in such a way that it can be easily manipulated to fill a cavity.  However, thanks to advances in dental technologies, you can now receive the restorative and protective dental treatment you need without having to compensate the aesthetics of your smile, or have mercury products in your mouth.

In contrast, porcelain and composite resin restorations do not contain toxic mercury and since they don’t contain metal, they wont expand and contract at a different rate than your natural teeth causing cracking and possible root fracture.

What is Composite Resin?

Composite Resin restorations are made of ceramic and plastic compounds that compliment the appearance of natural tooth colour.  For this reason composite resin may be used not only on back teeth but also in the front teeth.  In its early stages, approximately 20 years ago, composite resins were placed mainly in front teeth because they weren’t reliably strong enough to withstand high-pressure grinding and chewing performed by back molars.  However, thanks to advancements in dental technology, resin compounds can now be used to support your back teeth, providing a strong, durable and protective layer over the teeth.  A tooth well restored in composite resin is nearly as strong as natural tooth and certainly very much stronger than a tooth filled with amalgam.  The latest and best airplanes are now built with composite resin – not amalgam!

How is composite resin applied to the tooth?

The procedure for placing a composite resin dental restoration is more complex that the application of an amalgam filling.  The procedure includes:

  • The dentist isolates the tooth from saliva to keep it dry.
  • A drill or air abrasion is used to remove the infected part of the tooth.
  • The composite resin is placed in layers over the opening.
  • A special light is used to harden each layer of composite resin material.
  • After the tooth is restored, the composite resin is shaped as a real tooth.

Porcelain Restorations… the long term solution

Some patients may choose a longer term material such as porcelain for their restorations.

For reasons such as:

  • Durability – you don’t need to have your restoration replaced as soon (30 years or more for porcelain, 7-10 years for other filling materials).  In addition, porcelain is stain resistant in comparison to composite resin, which may stain over time.
  • Strength – porcelain restorations actually strengthens the teeth in which you have them placed because they don’t need as much of your tooth structure removed before they are placed, you keep more of your natural tooth and the porcelain is bonded directly to your tooth with composite resin.
  • Natural appearance – your porcelain restorations have a much more naturally attractive appearance than metal fillings.