The Benefits Of Mercury-Free Dentistry

by Dr. Follette

Many people today are searching for ways to live a healthier lifestyle, and one solution is to pursue mercury-free dentistry: a superior alternative to the amalgam (“silver”) fillings of years past. Carol E. Follette, a well-respected dentist serving Santa Monica, addresses this topic in detail.

What Are Amalgam Fillings?


Kids today will hopefully never need to answer this question – but for older generations, amalgam fillings are the “silver” fillings from our youth, the ones the dentist used to fill a cavity. In recent years, it’s become apparent that many amalgam fillings consist of nearly 55 percent mercury – a substance that’s poisonous to humans.


The question, “At what quantity does mercury become dangerous in a filling?” is still being discussed, but what’s indisputable is that mercury becomes unstable once an amalgam filling is placed in a tooth. This instability results in the continuous release of mercury vapor into the mouth, a health risk compounded by the fact that mercury doesn’t leave the body voluntarily. Instead, it’s bioaccumulative, which means that every new bit of mercury raises the overall content of mercury in the body.


It’s ironic that amalgam fillings were once thought to be beneficial to teeth, when in fact the opposite is proven to be true. For one, amalgam fillings require a larger “support” area inside the tooth, which means the dentist must remove a quantity of healthy tooth structure. This of course weakens the tooth. Another problem is that an amalgam filling expands over time, which could lead to cracks in the tooth. Cracking can also result from repeated use of amalgam in the same tooth (i.e. replacing a filling) because the amalgam goes a little deeper into the tooth which each successive pass, creating a “wedge effect” that cracks and splits the tooth.


Though the effects of mercury poison do not always manifest visibly, the same unfortunately can’t be said for what’s happening inside a person’s body. Pregnant women and their unborn babies are especially susceptible to mercury poisoning, and a developing fetus could potentially be born with a damaged neurological system due to mercury’s toxicity. Over time, this toxicity can also manifest health problems like headaches, insomnia, and mood swings.

The Benefits Of Mercury-Free Dentistry

Mercury-free dentistry as practiced at our Santa Monica dental office consists of durable filling materials that are proven safe for use in a patient’s mouth: materials like glass ionomers and composite resin are reinforced with other robust, non-toxic substances, none of which produce chemicals harmful to the human body. What’s more, these mercury-free solutions are better for the environment, and they’re similar in color to a tooth, which renders them less noticeable. In fact, if a patient’s tooth/teeth are a certain color, we can customize the filling color to help it blend-in even more.


Our mercury-free fillings and the robust materials which reinforce them are malleable, which means they don’t need a lot of space to function in, unlike amalgam fillings. Consequently, the patient’s tooth structure remains strong, receives no undue pressure, and will never be compromised by the aforementioned “wedge effect”.

Your Health Is Paramount

Carol E. Follette DDS and her team put their patients’ health first. Our mercury-free dentist is always on the leading edge of solutions and technologies that are safer and healthier for the mouth. Contact us today and take the first step towards exceptional oral care.