The vast majority of us have fillings in our teeth, and most of those fillings are amalgam. These amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, have been used by the dental industry for decades, and are by far the most common and effective material for filling our teeth.
They are called amalgam because they are a combination of metals. These metals include silver, tin, and copper, but mostly mercury. Sometimes other trace metals are used, such as small amounts of zinc, palladium or indium.
Reasons people are removing amalgam fillings
The main reason people are having their amalgam fillings removed is because of a recent health scare regarding the filling’s main component; mercury.
Mercury is found naturally in our air and water, but once it gets above certain levels it can become toxic. Symptoms of mercury poisoning include irritability, anxiety, memory loss, fatigue and headaches. Amalgam fillings were always thought to be inert, meaning that they don’t change over time, however studies have shown that very small amounts of mercury can be released over time as the filling wears down.
There is a chance this mercury can be absorbed in the soft tissue in the mouth and can slowly build up in our bodies. Studies have traced the movement of this harmful metal from our mouths to our brains, adrenal glands, and breast milk.
Although the fear of mercury poisoning isn’t the only reason to have amalgam fillings removed. These types of fillings can expand and contract, which can result in broken or cracked teeth. Aesthetically they are also unappealing. Brand new they are shiny metal and over time some can even turn black. Amalgam is used less now than in previous years because we now have effective materials for fillings which are tooth coloured, and therefore more desirable.
Alternatives to Mercury Fillings
There is an alternative to amalgam fillings if you would like yours removed. Porcelain or Composite resins may be used to replace your amalgams, however the best choice of material for you is situation dependent. Here at SDAI we use only the highest quality biocompatible materials for our restorations when removing amalgam.
Our porcelain/ceramic fillings are not only stronger and more resilient than amalgam, but the materials used closely match the natural aesthetic of your own teeth. Porcelain is also more stable and won’t expand/contract in extreme temperatures, a process which can cause your teeth to be sensitive and weaken over time.
Why choose SDAI for amalgam removal
Dental Practitioners should always abide by certain protocols when removing amalgam from the mouth. Here at SDAI patient safety is our number one priority, and we help keep risks down in various ways.
We use tungsten carbide burs to remove amalgam. This minimizes the heat generated which in turn helps to curb the mercury vapours released. This technique also shortens the length of the procedure considerably.
We also use a rubber dam to prevent inhalation and ingestion of harmful debris during the removal of amalgam fillings, and our high strength evacuation avoids mercury recirculation and inhalation.
Whether you are seeking to remove your old fillings due to health concerns, or simply would rather have a more natural look, SDAI will ensure that amalgam removal is safe, clean, and professional.