Are Old Silver Fillings Safe?

There’s no controversy that has plagued the dental world more than the issue about the safety of dental amalgam. When studies from long ago established a relationship between thyroid problems, neurological disorders, respiratory diseases, and mercury in amalgam, people just went on panic mode. Since silver fillings were popular for preventing the spread of cavities due to their impressive durability, many grew greatly concerned that the restorative dentistry procedure they had was “killing” them.

Do people really need to be worried?

After all, fillings are so small.  “Are old silver fillings safe or are they making patients highly prone to everything from neurological issues, autoimmune disease, chronic illnesses, to mental disorders?”

Here are the facts that everybody concerned about this issue should understand:


  • It’s true that amalgams are 50 percent mercury but they were always considered inert (chemically inactive) so the likelihood or mercury release was none to very minimal.
  • When it comes to mercury leaking from amalgams and producing a toxic effect on the body, different variables come into play (like the age of the fillings, one’s diet, the tendency to grind teeth, and number of fillings one has). It’s never just a matter of “having” silver fillings.
  • More studies are being carried out in order to fully establish the impact of mercury in silver fillings on people’s wellness. So far, findings have been inconclusive.
  • The current ADA and FDA position (because of all the inconclusive results) is that amalgam is a safe restorative material. Therefore, any dentist who recommends removing amalgams due to health concerns from mercury vapor is deemed unethical and could have their license revoked.
  • If you’re concerned about mercury release from your old dental fillings, a lot of dental professionals have advanced detection techniques that can measure mercury release. Hence, they can establish if your health is truly at risk.
  • The highest amount of mercury exposure from silver fillings occurs when they are placed and when they are removed from our mouths. So, if you’re worried about exposure, the smartest thing to do is to have a highly experienced dental team inspect your fillings to see if they’re still structurally intact, instead of just rushing to have them taken out.

It’s only natural to look after your health. Whether you want to have your old silver fillings removed just to be safe or not is completely up to you. Now, if you need to have some cavities filled, there are other filling options to choose from and you won’t have to worry about mercury exposure.

If you want to have your silver filling examined by a highly experienced dentist in Burtonsville MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, our head dentist can take care of that. Contact us today to set your appointment!


You’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis

The main question on your mind is this: “Can gum disease go away?”

When gingivitis is diagnosed and treated early on, and if the patient closely follows a dentist’s instructions, it can still be reversed. However, when gum disease is left unchecked, it can worsen and progress into periodontal disease.

Usually, gum disease does not require professional intervention. Instead, a patient is asked to practice good oral hygiene habits. In fact, poor oral hygiene is one of the leading causes of gingivitis.

However, there are some dentists who argue that gum disease is not really reversible. Instead, these dentists say that like periodontal disease, gingivitis can only be controlled.

In order to better understand that argument, here are a few important facts that you should know.

First, periodontitis is a non-curable bacterial infection

Periodontitis damages gum tissues as a result of the body’s immune system fighting off bacteria. Now, if a patient with periodontal disease responds well to the treatment for the disease, he is said to be cured, but not healed.


When the periodontal disease has been stabilized, bone loss stops. However, the damage on the bones can no longer be repaired. Patients who are healed of their periodontitis will notice a marked improvement in the swelling, bleeding, redness, and pocket depth of their gums. Now, if the patient fails to follow through with the treatment, periodontal disease can return.

How is that related to gingivitis?

Gum disease is caused by bacteria that elicits an immune response from the body. Patients with gingivitis experience bleeding, swelling and redness of the gums as a result of the immune system responding to the attack of the bacteria. However, gingivitis does not involve the development of pockets in the gums or bone loss.

Gingivitis and periodontitis share a few similarities. For one, both are bacterial infections that cause damage to tissues. Second, both respond well to the reduction of biofilm control (good oral hygiene). Finally, both diseases can return if the patient fails to practice good oral hygiene and to go for follow-up visits with the dentist.

However, the two also have a few key differences. Although both diseases are caused by a bacterial infection, the bacteria involved in gingivitis are considered to be less harmful. Second, gingivitis can be managed by good oral hygiene and regular dental cleaning. Periodontitis, on the other hand, needs to be managed for a whole lifetime. Patients also need to visit their dentists every three months.

But if there is one key difference that patients should be aware of, that is the fact that periodontitis has been linked to chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart attacks, and stroke.

If you want to learn more about how you can take better care of your teeth and gums and stave off diseases like gingivitis, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, a dentist in Burtonsville, MD, and his team can provide you with invaluable tips. Contact us today.

Mercury Free Dentistry | Replacing Old Amalgam Fillings

Mercury Free DentistryEducating Patients on Mercury Free Dentistry

A person’s exposure to environmental toxins increases each year. There is, however, one area where you can control your exposure to these toxins and the dangers they pose to your health – by getting rid of your current mercury amalgam fillings.

Traditional dentists use regular silver fillings. These silver fillings usually contain at least 50% mercury and other metals such as copper, zinc, and tin, and the final product created is called an amalgam. Unfortunately, even the smallest traces of mercury in your dental restorations can be exceptionally harmful to your health. This is because mercury is one of the most toxic naturally occurring substances on earth.

Dangers of Mercury

According to the World Health Organization, silver fillings contribute more mercury to a person’s body than all other sources of mercury combined.  Because of its poisonous characteristic, this dangerous substance can adversely affect a person’s immune, cardiac, respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems. Different studies conducted under laboratory conditions also show that mercury can produce brain cell deterioration identical to the conditions seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Safe Removal of Amalgam

To avoid prolonged mercury exposure and the dangers this substance poses, it is crucial to have your silver fillings removed by experts. Practitioners of mercury free dentistry can safely remove old amalgam and properly perform the replacement procedure.

According to a trusted Burtonsville, MD Dentist, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, the right and safest silver filling removal method should include extracting old fillings in large chunks to reduce the risk of trace mercury contamination, using high-volume suction systems and sterilized water, and the isolation of teeth with a non-latex rubber dam.

Mercury-Free Dental Filling Options

Once the old amalgam has been removed, the dentist will thoroughly clean and carefully inspect your teeth to ensure that any lingering residue or debris is eradicated.

To replace your old fillings, you can choose between composite resin and porcelain inlays. These options not only look natural and more attractive, but they also add strength to a natural tooth. Traditional silver fillings tend to weaken over time and often break easily. Both porcelain inlays and composite resin are also non-toxic; they do not contain mercury and are thus not hazardous to your health, even if they stay in your teeth for a long time.

It is possible to possess a beautiful smile while not contributing to or being exposed to environmental toxins. You can do this by consulting mercury-free dentistry practitioners, who are also called holistic dental specialists. They provide dental treatments and services that will enable you to have a beautiful smile which are also safe for one’s health and do not have any negative impact on the environment.

Contact your local dentist in Burtonsville at Nicholas Dental Care to discuss additional mercury free dentistry options.

Tooth Restoration | What Options Do You Have?

Tooth RestorationYour Different Options for Tooth Restoration

Dentistry now offers a variety of reliable methods to restore missing or damaged teeth. If you wish to regain your original smile, your dentist has a ready solution for you.

So what are the different types of tooth restoration? A Laurel, MD dentist listed five of the most common options to choose from:


Dental bridges are false teeth that are used to “bridge” the space created by one missing tooth or a few missing teeth. They are anchored to the surrounding teeth, which are “crowned” and cemented securely into place. For bridges to be placed properly, it’s imperative that there are enough gums and bone, and that the surrounding teeth are stable enough to serve as an anchor to the bridge.


Dental Crowns are tooth-shaped “covers” or “caps” commonly used for teeth that have been root canaled and need to be protected from further damage. They are also used to hold bridges securely in place, and to cover dental implants.


Dentures are false teeth worn to replace missing teeth. They are removable and are made from acrylic resin and at times combined with a metal attachment. These come in partial and complete designs; partial dentures are used if there are remaining natural teeth, while those who have lost all their teeth use complete dentures.


Fillings are applied to teeth that have been damaged by cavities. The common materials for fillings are gold, silver amalgam, and tooth-colored plastic materials called composite resin fillings. Among these three, gold and silver amalgams are considered the most durable material, but composite resin is the most aesthetically pleasing. Fillings last for many years, but they do not prevent the spread of cavities if proper oral hygiene is not practiced regularly. When leaks appear, fillings need to be replaced.


Dental implants are permanent teeth replacements because they also include the replacement of tooth roots. Titanium posts are placed into the bone socket where teeth are missing, and they’re covered with a crown. Among the different kinds of tooth restorations, implants are the most expensive. They take a lot of work and not everybody is automatically qualified for the procedure. Dentists make sure that those who want or need implants are in completely good oral health in order to prevent complications during and after the procedure. Those who are not recommended for implants are patients with diabetes and cancer who have weakened immune systems; those who are highly prone to infection, and those who do not heal as quickly.

Contact your Laurel, MD dentist to discuss which method of tooth restoration is right for you. The friendly professionals at Nicholas Dental Care are dedicated to helping you maintain a confident smile.