Dental amalgam fillings have been used for over 150 years, however recently there’s been quite a bit written about the mercury content in amalgam fillings and its potential impact one’s health. While the American Dental Association has given mercury fillings a clean bill of health, there are other groups that feel that they pose a significant danger to the health of patients. Mercury toxicity is well known, documented and believed by some to contribute to a number of health conditions. Needless to say, a definitive link has not been made and the replacement of mercury fillings is often a personal choice.
|Mercury Amalgam Fillings Before||Mercury Amalgam Fillings After|
Amalgam fillings have been extensively used to fill dental cavities for some time. Composed of different metals such as silver, copper, zinc and tin bound together into an alloy by elemental mercury, amalgam fillings contain up to 50% of mercury. Traditionally, dentists have favored the use of amalgam because it is durable, cheap and easy to use.
Until recently, dental amalgam has been the restorative method of choice for many dentists, however this has been changing. The decreasing popularity in the use of this material can be attributed to several factors:
Aesthetics – Amalgam fillings are less visually pleasing that other options.
Environmental Pollution – Mercury is considered and environmental toxin.
Availability – It is becoming more difficult to obtain the amalgam material.
Despite its popular and unrestricted use in most countries, today the countries of Norway, Denmark and Sweden have banned its use.
Currently there is a significant amount of controversy surrounding the use of dental amalgam fillings and its effects on one’s health. While it’s generally accepted that these fillings leach mercury into the mouth, the studies conducted on this issue have produced wildly different conclusions regarding the amount of mercury released and whether those amounts are enough to present a significant health risk. Needless to say, there is a substantial amount of contradictory information and although there is no definitive proof that amalgam fillings are harmful to one’s health, we encourage those interested to review the findings of well respected health organizations to make their own decision:
Despite the fact that the mercury found in amalgam fillings has not been proven as the direct cause of health problems, it is widely agreed that Mercury is toxic. Exposure to toxic levels of mercury and mercury vapors can cause a wide variety of neurological damage and injury. Moreover some of the conditions that some believe to be linked to mercury fillings include: conditions including chronic illnesses, autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, birth defects, oral lesions, and mental disorders. Understandably, if offered a choice between receiving an amalgam filling or a composite resin alternative, a conservative person would select the alternative.
Our view at Zonies-Holgado Dental is one of concern. While we don’t believe that everyone should have their metal fillings replaced, the issues mentioned above suggest that more information is needed to better assess the connection between dental mercury fillings and their impact on health. Even though there has been no clear evidence linking the two, we continue to educate our patients on the pros and cons of mercury fillings and support any decision to replace them.
If you’re among the millions of people that have received a filling using dental amalgam and you’re interested in having it replaced with a non-toxic alternative, Zonies-Holgado Dental Associates can help. Among the healthy and aesthetically pleasing alternatives available, you’ll find that our CEREC restorations are an excellent substitute for mercury fillings. You’ll find the process convenient and in addition to the obvious cosmetic advantages, the CEREC restoration will bond to your teeth providing additional strength while preserving the tooth structure.