Among all the health scares out there, mercury exposure rates high on many people’s list of concerns. That’s why you may have heard that traditional silver fillings may be a major health risk. You’ve probably wondered at some point, “Are dental amalgam fillings safe?” Metal amalgam fillings contain about 50% elemental mercury, along with a mixture of other metals.
At My Family Dentistry, we use more modern dental fillings that are metal-free and very safe. However, we primarily use these state-of-the-art materials because they’re simply superior to metal fillings. We know that you want safe, non-toxic options. It’s also important that fillings last for many decades without causing extra problems like cracked teeth.
So, let’s discuss why silver fillings have been popular for many years — and why some people believe they pose a hazard to your health.
Why Is There Mercury in Metal Amalgam Fillings?
First, you should know that silver fillings and metal amalgam fillings are not exactly the same. However, they both contain mercury and they both are silvery in appearance — so people commonly refer to all metal fillings as silver.
It’s the mercury content of metal fillings that has people concerned. Parents especially know that limiting their children’s exposure to mercury can prevent various brain and kidney problems, among other issues.
Key facts about mercury in fillings:
Mercury bonds all the other metals in a compound together tightly and permanently. The elemental mercury used in fillings differs from the mercury found in seafood. However, mercury fillings do emit tiny amounts of vapor that can theoretically be harmful.
Research does not indicate a strong link between mercury-based dental fillings and any particular health issue, but scientists don’t have much data about some potential issues (such as breastfeeding mothers who have silver fillings and effects on children later in life).
Why Use Alternatives to Metal Fillings?
Silver fillings have been around for well over a century. When they became the standard for dental fillings, people had not yet developed better alternatives.
Today, if we find cavities or tooth fractures, there are modern restoration options that use white or natural-color materials that look better. These include resin and porcelain fillings that help strengthen the tooth while bonding just as strongly as metal fillings.
My Family Dentistry can provide modern fillings that look more natural, work just as well if not better, and completely avoid any concerns about mercury.
If you already have silver fillings, don’t worry! They’re still FDA-approved for everyone ages 6 and up. There’s also no need to be bothered with replacing metal fillings if they’re in good condition.
Are you worried about metal amalgam? Contact us today to discuss fillings and other treatment options.