About dental amalgam fillings
“Mercury-Free Dentistry: there are healthy and good alternatives”
While there is a lot of controversy about amalgam fillings and many authorities claim it is safe, at North Avon Dental we believe in our patient’s right to an informed choice about their filling materials.
Day-to-day activities like chewing, drinking hot liquids and normal wear cause small amounts of the mercury to be lost from the filling. Some of this mercury is exhaled but some is taken into the body and stored.
The consequences of this are controversial. The New Zealand Dental Association's position is that this stored mercury is not a problem for most people. Our dental practice, however, sees some patients for whom the mercury load does cause measurable health effects.
What is dental amalgam?
Dental amalgam (the black filling material in older people's teeth) is a blend of metals such as silver, copper and tin. Mercury binds these metals together, providing a strong, hard, durable 'silver' filling for your teeth. Dental amalgam is less expensive than other materials.
Do amalgam fillings release mercury?
If you have amalgam fillings, mercury vapour may be released when you chew vigorously or grind your teeth. The amount of vapour released from fillings is extremely small. There is no valid scientific evidence that associates this tiny amount of mercury vapour with any health problems.
Is the mercury in my amalgam fillings safe?
The mercury used in fillings is safe for most people. Authorities such as the British Dental Association, US Public Health Service, FDI World Dental Federation and World Health Organisation state that amalgam has been used for more than 150 years in millions of patients and no controlled studies have shown adverse health effects, except for rare cases of mercury allergy.
I've heard that people are cured from illness when amalgam fillings are removed - is this true?
Stories of overnight cures from serious diseases have never been supported by sound scientific evaluation. If you are concerned about your amalgam fillings we are happy to discuss the benefits and risks of replacing them.
Amalgam removal should be done safely to minimize risk of you swallowing the debris and disposed of safely (it is toxic waste). Proper isolation and high volume suction are critical. Most of the time a rubber dam should be used to protect you while big fillings are being removed and to help improve the quality of the bond of the new restoration.
With so many advancements in dentistry the big question is what do you replace amalgam with? What are the alternatives to amalgam fillings?
Composite fillings are tooth coloured and can be used for front and back teeth. Large composite fillings generally don't last as long as amalgam, but this should be weighed up against their excellent appearance and any concerns you may have about mercury release. Composites are effective if they are not very wide, and only involve one or two surfaces of the tooth. These fillings are very technique and operator sensitive, so make sure you have them done right the first time.
Teeth that are heavily filled (with amalgam or other materials) are impossible to restore successfully with more fillings as there may be nothing left to fill or the remaining tooth is very weak! Porcelain or gold onlays or crowns are the right solution in these situations if more than 50% of the tooth has been destroyed by decay, cracks or old fillings.
An amalgam replacement programme for you
Please contact our office to arrange an appointment if you would like to find out more about reducing the amount of mercury in your life. We will help design a programme based on your individual needs, general health and desired time frame. We will contact you back for a consultation.
About Dental Amalgam Filling
Did you know that;
||The 'silver' fillings in your teeth really consist of 50% mercury, with other metals such as tin, zinc, copper and silver making up the balance, or 'amalgam' of metals?
||Mercury is one of the most toxic substances on the planet? - more toxic than arsenic, lead and cadmium.
||All unused, left over dental amalgam is considered toxic waste and has to be specially stored due to the mercury content - yet is considered 'safe' by some dentists and professional bodies when placed in your mouth?
Over the years scientists have accumulated a formidable body of evidence, establishing that:
- amalgam releases significant amounts of mercury over the lifetime of a filling;
- the mercury distributes to tissues around the body, and is the biggest source of the mercury burden in the body;
- the mercury from amalgam crosses the placenta and into breast milk, resulting in significant pre- and post-partum exposures for infants; and
- adverse physiological changes occur from that exposure on the immune system, kidneys, reproductive organs and brain, as well as the oral and intestinal flora.
Sweeden and Norway have banned the use of mercury-silver (amalgam) fillings. Throughout Europe the use of mercury-silver fillings has been in decline for the last decade for both environmental and health reasons. Sweeden cited health reasons for the ban and Norway cited environmental reasons.
It has been used for over 100 years for restoring tooth decay, however amalgam is approximately 50% mercury. A paradox exists however in the use of mercury-silver amalgam for restoring a tooth with decay. After placing the amalgam into a patients tooth our dental assistants are required to treat the remaining unused portion of the amalgam as hazardous waste taking special handling precautions and waste disposal.
My question is why is a patients mouth the only safe place to keep mercury amalgam filling material?
If you have any questions concerning mercury silver fillings please don't hesitate to give our practice a call on 03 365 6767.
Or go to make an appointment.