Today, dentistry has been bifurcated into several branches like periodontics, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. Over the years, dentistry has risen above being a profession catering to the bare necessary dental demands of patients. Dental professionals today, care not only for the patient’s teeth and mouth, but also their aesthetics and morals.In a world that is fast trying to evolve into a more eco-friendly model, dental industry has also inevitably adapted itself. The new kid on the block is Amalgam Free Dentistry.Amalgam is a mercury-based alloy that is commonly used for dental fillings and other dental restorations ever since modern dentistry was practiced. Amalgam has been recommended for possessing the following advantages-• Longer lasting than any other material apart from gold
• Cost effective
• Resistant to fractures
• Single visit required for installation
Despite these advantages, researchers have proven that amalgam is responsible for multiplying a patient’s mercury load over the years, through percolation. Mercury being a highly toxic element is known to cause gradual poisoning of the system.Mercury poisoning is among the top concerns of critics of amalgam usage and even dental professionals in contact with mercury are exposed to its ill-effects. In the long run, mercury can cause fatal disorders like multiple sclerosis, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, various skin ailments etc. the environment also suffers from mercury poisoning caused by the mercury containing waste that is released by the dental clinics.Although critics have downplayed the health disadvantages of amalgam dentistry, dental industry is slowly and definitely moving towards amalgam free dentistry.Replacements of amalgam also have aesthetic advantages to patients. Use of porcelain in crowns, bridges, inlays and onlays has an added advantage of mimicking tooth color. This gives a more natural feel to the restoration, unlike the unpleasant looking amalgam restorations. Porcelain has replaced amalgam entirely in cosmetic dentistry.To replace amalgam in dentistry, various alternatives like gold alloy, cement, porcelain etc. are available. While except for gold and other metal alloy fillings, non-amalgam fillings are proven to be less durable, patients have shown a preference for them due to their non-toxic nature.
Following is a list of top replacements (in no specific order) of amalgam• Glass Ionomers
• Resin Ionomers
• Full Porcelain or porcelain attached to metal
• Gold Alloy
• Base Metal AlloyIf you already have an amalgam filling from the past, you need not worry. Several amalgam free dentists also offer ‘Amalgam Replacement’ procedures. This procedure is highly recommended if your fillings are particularly old, as no dental restoration lasts forever and you require regular checkups to know that they are good to go for some time. Practitioners of amalgam free dentistry will replace your amalgam fillings with a safer option.