Dana Hodge King. D.D.S., has been in private practice in San Antonio since 1983.
She earned a fellowship from the American Society of Dentistry for Children in Chicago, Ill.in 1992,
and, for two years, served as craniofacial clinical coordinator at the University of Texas Health Science
Center at San Antonio, where she is still a clinical faculty member.
Aesthetic alternatives to the traditional silver-mercury fillings are available. In many parts of the world, silver mercury fillings are not used because of health concerns. Germany is one example of a country that no longer uses silver-mercury.
Mercury is a neurotoxin. The dental profession has known for many years of health risks associated with even the storage of silver-mercury amalgam that has been removed from patient’s teeth.
Children are particularly susceptible to the potential ill effects of amalgam. Up to age 6, the brain development is very active. Any neurotoxins should be avoided if possible during this time.
Aesthetic composite restorations are an inexpensive alternative filling material. Glass ionomer (a glass cement) is placed in the base and bonds to the dentin. This protects the internal aspects of the tooth to decay. The second layer is a clear acrylic layer to secure the glass ionomer to the outer composite layer. The composite is an acrylic with fillers to strengthen it.
The most biocompatible, inert filling material is porcelain. Porcelain restorations allow for conservation of natural tooth structure along with strengthening the tooth. This material is also favorable because it can avoid metal and is incredibly similar to the enamel which it replaces. It even looks like enamel on an x-ray. All porcelain bridges are now available.