One of the most widely discussed topics in dentistry is the use of mercury in metal "amalgam" fillings. It is proposed that the mercury contained in these restorations can cause various health problems from lethargy to mental impairment. If you personally have metal fillings, you may be worried about the effects on your own well being. In this article, we would like to take a moment to alleviate any concerns you might have about your dental treatments!
For starters, amalgam fillings have been used in dentistry for nearly 200 years. They are safe, convenient and stand up well against regular use and wear. Amalgam uses mercury as a mean of binding loose metal particles together. As the mercury dries, the once malleable filling becomes rock solid. What is left behind is a blend of the various metal components locked together creating a strong structure.
The mercury found in amalgam fillings is stabilized by the other metals in its mixture, making it inert (unable to affect the body). This contrasts with methylmercury (found in seafood) that accumulates in the body and causes poisoning and elemental mercury which has various toxic effects on the brain. Over time, amalgam does not leach an appreciable amount of mercury and has not been shown to have any affects on physical or cognitive function. Thus, it is just as safe as any other dental material used today.
With this information in mind, our office does not remove amalgam fillings simply because they contain mercury. This often creates more problems than it solves by requiring unnecessary modifications to the underlying tooth. We will only change out amalgam fillings if they are defective, broken or have new decay emerging underneath them. If you would like to know more about the fillings and other services offered at our office, please give us a call!