White Is the New Mercury

As Americans seek ever whiter teeth, it only makes sense that they want pearly fillings too. White fillings, which are made of resin, used to be considered too weak to withstand the vicissitudes of chewing. But that is changing. "White fillings have gotten stronger and more wear resistant," says Dr. J. Rodway Mackert, an American Dental Association spokesman and dentistry professor. The fillings are made in various shades of white to match patients' teeth. Some mimic the smoothness of front teeth, while others are more durable, for hard-crunching molars. They still don't last quite as long as mercury amalgam fillings but...

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