Over the last few years, there have been many reports of people having their amalgam fillings removed for health reasons.
There is a lot of confusion around the subject, with many people unsure as to what the dangers are, or even if there is anything to be worried!
We’ve put together this short article explaining the recent reports, why people are concerned about their fillings, and what can be done about it.
What are amalgam fillings?
Most of us have at least one filling in our teeth, and the vast majority of those fillings are made from dental amalgam.
Dental amalgam has been used to fill cavities for more than 150 years, in millions of patients all over the world.
It is a mixture of metals, including silver, tin and copper, but around half of dental amalgam is made from mercury, which, due to its chemical make-up, is great for bonding with other metals.
This unique bond makes dental amalgam particularly strong, long-lasting, and relatively cheap as a type of filling.
Are amalgam fillings dangerous?
Over the past couple of decades, research into mercury has identified it as an environmental hazard and linked the metal to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, kidney and brain damage.
In 2013, UN committed to reducing mercury use worldwide, including in dentistry.
However, the mercury in your amalgam fillings is safe. Even though the amalgam does release tiny amounts of mercury as vapour, these trace amounts are absorbed into the bloodstream, taken through the kidneys, and passed out in your urine.
The vast majority of research into this subject finds no evidence that the mercury in amalgam fillings is poisonous, and the small amounts being released as vapour are barely measurable.
However, not everyone agrees, and this is where the health concerns come in.
We know that mercury is dangerous, and we know amalgam fillings contain mercury, so there is an underlying fear that amalgam fillings are bad for our health.
It is this train of thought that has led to a rise in the number of people having their amalgam fillings removed in recent years.
People want peace of mind more than anything.
What are the alternatives to having amalgam fillings removed?
If you are unsure about your amalgam fillings and would like them replaced, then there are alternatives.
Porcelain, composite resin, glass ionomer, and even gold may be used to replace your amalgam fillings, however, the best choice of material varies for each individual.
We use only the highest quality biocompatible materials for our restorations when removing amalgam.
Our composite fillings are not only stronger and more resilient than amalgam, but they closely match the natural colour of your own teeth.
Porcelain alternatives are 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.
How we can help with the removal of amalgam fillings
For those who would like their amalgam fillings removed, we can help. The process itself can be considered relatively hazardous, with strict protocols in place for the removal of amalgam.
Patient safety is always our top priority here, and we keep the risks down in a number of different ways.
We use tungsten carbide burs to remove amalgam. This minimizes the heat generated, which in turn limits the mercury vapours released. This technique also shortens the length of the procedure considerably.
When a patient is having their amalgam fillings removed, we also use a rubber dam to prevent inhalation and ingestion of harmful debris.
We take extra care of our patients here, from the first moment they walk through the door.
Whether you are seeking to remove your old amalgam fillings just to have peace of mind, or you would like to have a more natural look, we ensure that the procedure is safe, clean, and professional.
Contact us today if you have any questions about having your amalgam fillings removed, or any other treatments we can help you with.
Our friendly and professional staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.