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Old dental fillings that are dark and unattractive can make you feel self-conscious when you smile. The St. Paul Family Dentist offers strong and durable porcelain tooth fillings to replace old, unsightly mercury fillings, eliminating the discolored the metallic solutions left behind.

Why Use Porcelain?

Porcelain is an ideal material for use in dental fillings because of its similarities to your natural teeth. Porcelain fillings can be made to closely match the color and shade of your teeth. This makes porcelain fillings an excellent choice for restorations that include your front teeth or other visible parts of the teeth.

The bond that is created when the material is affixed to your natural tooth actually makes them stronger. Porcelain used by our dentist has many uses including filling material for decayed teeth and restorations on chipped, broken or worn teeth.

Replacement of Silver Amalgam Fillings

In addition to providing the restorative qualities as mentioned above, porcelain fillings can also be used to replace old mercury amalgam fillings. Although The American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that no conclusive proof exists that mercury (silver) fillings cause bodily harm, some research suggests that mercury amalgam fillings may cause toxins to enter the body.

Amalgam fillings are still in use today by some dentists, but advancements in modern dentistry such as porcelain fillings provide better alternatives for patients seeking a more aesthetically pleasing outcome.

If you have concerns about replacing your mercury fillings with tooth-colored fillings the St. Paul Family Dentist can help you improve the appearance of your smile with porcelain fillings. Dr. Malterud can SAFELY remove your old mercury fillings following the recommended protocols of the International Association of Mercury-Safe Dentists (IAMSD).


There are a number of problems associated with using amalgam fillings containing mercury. While the dangers of mercury used in these fillings has not been fully confirmed, the St. Paul Family Dentist chooses to place only mercury-free fillings.

This is part of a trend in holistic dental treatments, and many dentists have chosen to discontinue the use of amalgam fillings altogether. For example, our office has not placed any mercury fillings in over 30 years.

Fillings containing mercury have been widely used by dental professionals for decades. At the time, there were few other choices available, and amalgam fillings were primarily used because of their strength and durability.

But over the years, many studies have emerged suggesting that the presence of mercury in our bodies is a potential health concern. As a result, we see an increasing number of patients who want their old mercury fillings replaced with attractive, safe composite fillings.

A dental filling made of mercury has the potential to leak, increasing the risk of developing decay that leads to deterioration of the tooth. Another problem with amalgam fillings is that they expand and contract, leading to possible cracking or breaking of the tooth.

This can be painful and result in several visits to the dentist to restore the tooth. You may need a dental crown and possibly a root canal to save the tooth. In extreme cases, you may need to have the tooth extracted.
But improvements in dental materials make it possible for us to now use aesthetically-pleasing tooth-colored composite fillings. If you currently have amalgam fillings and would like them replaced, we have protocols in place for their safe removal:

  • A rubber dam will be placed in your mouth to prevent debris from being swallowed.
  • Cold water will be used during removal to keep the mercury cool and prevent possible release of harmful vapors.
  • The amalgam filling will be carefully removed in chunks to avoid drilling and the possible release of mercury vapors.
  • High-volume vacuum equipment will be used to remove airborne particles of mercury and its vapor.
  • State-of-the art equipment is used in the treatment room to capture airborne mercury vapor and contaminants. A nasal hood is provided to eliminate the possibility of inhalation of harmful mercury vapors. Once the fillings have been removed safely, all supplies used are carefully disposed of.

You do not have to live with unattractive and potentially harmful mercury fillings. If you are concerned about the safety of your fillings, contact the St. Paul Family Dentist for a consultation to discuss your specific situation.

Many dental patients today are concerned about reports they've heard regarding the presence of mercury in their old amalgam fillings.But the Highland Park St. Paul General Dentist has not placed a filling containing mercury in over 30 years. In fact, our patients who know we are mercury-free often request removal of their amalgam fillings and replacement with natural, tooth-colored composite fillings.

Concerns about mercury are not the only problem with amalgam fillings. Fillings containing large amounts of amalgam expand and contract and can cause the tooth to crack or break. This can lead to severe pain and time-consuming, costly dental work.

Several procedures may be needed to restore the tooth, including placement of a crown and possible root canal treatment. In extreme cases, the tooth may break in such a way that removal of the tooth is required. Many patients are also unhappy with the appearance of their older amalgam fillings since they darken over time, and cause the surrounding natural enamel to look dark and unattractive.

Fortunately, modern dentistry provides safer, aesthetically-pleasing options for replacement of mercury fillings, like composite or tooth-colored fillings. We've provided a brief summary of the procedure that the Highland Park St. Paul General Dentist follows to safely remove old amalgam fillings:

  • To prevent debris from the filling being swallowed, a rubber dam is placed in your mouth.
  • Cold water is used during removal to keep the amalgam cool and prevent release of mercury vapors.
  • Drilling away the amalgam increases the chance of releasing mercury vapors, so the dentist will “chunk" out the fillings.
  • Amalgam particles and mercury vapor are removed with high-volume vacuum equipment.
  • The air in the treatment room is filtered to capture airborne mercury vapor and other contaminants.
Our dental team wears dental masks, and you will be given a nasal hood with oxygen to eliminate the chance of inhalation of mercury vapors or airborne particles. Immediately after the filling is removed we dispose of our masks, gloves and the rubber dam. Your entire mouth is then rinsed for at least ten seconds.

If you are concerned about the mercury fillings in your mouth for safety or aesthetic reasons, please contact our office for a consultation appointment. At that time we will assess your situation and recommend a treatment plan that includes removal of your amalgam fillings.

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