We advocate mercury-free fillings. Many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. Not only are mercury fillings unsightly, but they result in a weaker tooth. Tooth-colored fillings and porcelain onlays and crowns create restorations that are not only beautiful and natural looking, but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are aesthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding and materials technologies.
We know today that mercury (amalgam) fillings have many drawbacks. Mercury-silver fillings, which contain 50 percent mercury, used to be our only choice to fill teeth. If you have mercury-silver fillings that are 15 years or older, they have likely undergone microleakage that has resulted in decay underneath the fillings. It's also possible for large amalgam fillings to expand over time and cause internal fractures in the tooth. They can even corrode, leak, and cause dark staining of your teeth and gums. Fortunately, these mercury-silver fillings can safely be replaced with tooth-colored restorations.
Tooth-colored restorations are now used much more widely due to their many advantages. Made of a composite material, these restorations require less healthy tooth structure removal in their placement removal of less healthy tooth structure as compared to silver fillings, and they actually reinforce the strength of the tooth (whereas silver fillings weaken teeth). Quite often, tooth-colored restorations allow us to avoid needing to implant a full crown, and of course, tooth colored restorations are vastly superior in their esthetics!