Mercury Fillings In Dental Treatments: What You Need To Know
When a patient gets a cavity, it’s important to seal that opening with the help of special materials that will help prevent infection, pain, and the eventual loss of the tooth. The mouth is a very unique environment, though: it’s constantly moist, there’s a lot of motion, and bacteria accumulates pretty quickly. The material of choice, therefore, needs to be very resilient.
Dental amalgam is a material some dentists still use to fill cavities. Amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, appear silver or dark tarnished metal. We refer to them as Mercury fillings. They are a combination of silver and other metals mixed with 50% mercury, one of the most toxic substances on earth.
Dentists have been using this combination for decades, but the material has been in the spotlight recently. Multiple debates have started due to concerns about the concentration of mercury in the compound (approximately 50%). It’s been proven that mercury vapor is constantly released from these fillings and inhaled, swallowed or absorbed into the body while chewing, drinking hot or cold beverages, brushing and teeth grinding throughout the lifetime of the filling. There is no safe level of mercury!
Exposure to mercury vapor has been linked to issues like brain and kidney damage,
Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and more. Mercury fillings also weaken teeth. The metal fillings expand and contract causing fractures of the tooth structure leading to broken teeth requiring extensive repair or even the need for tooth loss (extraction).
Replacing Silver Fillings
Traditional dentists do not have the proper training, equipment or protocols in place to safely remove mercury fillings. In fact, most dentists will tell you that there is no safety issue with Mercury in a dental filling. They believe what they were taught and do not know, or do not believe, the current science. I strongly believe that no tooth with a Mercury filling should be treated without the stringent safety protocols of the SMART technique (Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique) as defined by the IAOMT.
It’s not recommended to remove mercury amalgam fillings if you’re pregnant or nursing. In these cases, we will evaluate the right moment and procedure to remove the fillings, and will suggest alternative replacement materials that are healthier for you.
There are non-metal fillings in the market made of ceramic or resins, that are safer for you and easier to adapt to the shape of your tooth. Another benefit is that these materials are more cosmetically attractive, since they can color-match your natural tooth shade.
At the office of Dr. Joel Singer, your dental and overall health is our top priority. Please call us if you are in the Fort Lee, NJ area and would like to explore alternatives to mercury fillings.