One of the most popular and effective materials used for dental fillings for the last 150 years is amalgam. Dental amalgam is made primarily from a mixture of metals including copper, silver, tin and mercury.
In recent years, there have been some concerns expressed regarding use of mercury in amalgam fillings and how it might effect the human body. Is dental amalgam safe for your health? What should you know about amalgam and its’ possible alternatives?
Should You Be Concerned About Mercury in Fillings?
Mercury is a naturally occurring element to which we are exposed on a daily basis through water, soil and air. Mercury can even be found in the food we eat. The low exposure to mercury we face each day is harmless. However, if someone is exposed to higher than normal levels of mercury, it is believed that this can lead to fatigue, headaches, memory loss, anxiety and irritability.
Researchers have tried to determine if or how much mercury the human body may absorb from an amalgam filling. The results to such studies are complex and inconclusive. Some studies have actually shown that our exposure to mercury in fillings is less than what we are exposed to in our daily lives through eating, breathing and drinking.
Based on current studies and extensive scientific research, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) deems amalgam fillings to be safe for adults and children over the age of 6.
In recent years, fillings made of gold, porcelain or composite resin have grown in popularity. Since composite resin is made to match the color of your tooth, it is typically the highest in demand. Bear in mind, though, that since composite resin is faster wearing than amalgam, it isn’t necessarily the best choice for every situation.
Should You Remove Your Metal Fillings?
We are only in the habit of recommending dental procedures when they are absolutely necessary. Since scientific evidence and the FDA do not show any conclusive issues with amalgam fillings, we only recommend replacement when your amalgam fillings are broken, worn or if decay is forming below your filling. Removing them, unnecessarily, can result in you loosing healthy parts of your existing tooth.
Do you have any further questions or concerns about amalgam fillings? If so, schedule an appointment to speak with our family dentist Dr. Matson. He will be happy to settle any further concerns and evaluate your current filling needs.