Dentists have used silver fillings, or fillings made from amalgam for over a century. Amalgam fillings are fifty percent mercury, with other metals like copper, tin, and zinc that make up the rest. Amalgam or silver fillings have long been considered the best option for dental fillings. They are durable and can last for years if combined with good oral hygiene and regular dental exams. This article explores the issues of using mercury in fillings and safe mercury removal.
Are fillings made of amalgam that contain mercury safe for patients?
There’s been a debate about whether these fillings have a negative impact on a patients’ health? And, do silver fillings that contain mercury harmfully affect the environment? Are there alternatives to silver fillings? And are these alternatives safer than silver fillings? We’ll dive into more information about this topic below.
Are Silver Fillings Safe?
Silver fillings are used commonly because they are affordable and durable. But, does that mean that silver fillings are safe? The ADA has claimed for a long time that silver fillings are safe because they only release minute traces of mercury vapor, and this low amount of mercury is not considered harmful. But, as this debate wages on, a lot of dental professionals disagree. One reason for the disagreement is that the ADA does warn that silver fillings are toxic before placement and after removal. And, there is no proof that amalgam fillings suddenly turn non toxic in a patients’ mouth. Plus, there is a dispute about silver fillings and everyday activities like eating, drinking and brushing teeth. Can these activities cause silver fillings to release mercury vapor? How about a patient who is a teeth grinder? Does grinding teeth release mercury vapor? Is safe mercury removal a healthier choice?
What Does The WHO Say About Mercury Fillings?
The World Health Organization states that chewing food, drinking hot liquids, and grinding teeth can release up to three to seventeen micrograms of mercury vapor per day. However, the ADA claims that amount to be only one to three micrograms of mercury vapor released daily from normal activities. Unfortunately, it is still being debated how much mercury vapor is harmful. Fans of silver fillings say the mercury level is too low to be harmful, while critics say that research has not proven silver fillings to be safe. One thing that can be agreed on is that mercury can harmfully affect the environment, by polluting water after many dentist fail to separate mercury from their wastewater, which releases the substance into the atmosphere.
What Are The Other Options to Choose From For Fillings
As a holistic and mercury free dentist, Dr. Yamaguchi offers an alternative to silver fillings such as fillings made with composite resin. The composite resin can be made to match the color of your natural teeth, and the cost is moderate. There is an argument that fillings made with these alternative materials are not as durable. However, with good oral hygiene and regular dentist visits, fillings made from composite resin can last up to 20 years.
For more information, contact our office at Dental Arts and Wellness.