The Truth About Silver Amalgam Fillings


Have you heard the rumours?

Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of press about mercury-silver (or amalgam) fillings. The main concern is that mercury may be released into the mouth while chewing.

Some studies have shown that mercury fillings may cause an increase in mercury levels in the brain and other organs. This is a concern because mercury is toxic and it only takes small amounts to cause major health problems.

Some people believe that mercury filling can lead to allergic reactions or serious health problems. Some countries have even banned amalgam fillings.

We choose not to use mercury fillings at Island Dental, and here’s why.

The facts about Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam has been used for more than 150 years in hundreds of millions of patients around the world. The fillings are called “silver fillings” because of their silver colour.

Amalgam fillings consist of about 50% mercury. The rest is silver, zinc and copper.

Mercury is slowly released from these fillings and scientists agree that mercury absorbed in high enough doses cause health problems,. However, it’s unclear how much mercury is absorbed by the body from an amalgam filling, and how much would have to be absorbed to cause any problems.

Studies also show that after 20 years there is no more mercury left in the fillings. So should you be worried?

Well, the US Food and Drug Administration says, “FDA considers dental amalgam fillings safe for adults and children ages 6 and above.”

We don’t use Mercury Fillings

Our personal position is that we no longer recommend or use mercury fillings, for a host of reasons. The health implications of these fillings in unclear, but we do know the properties of the product and the dental implications.

When a tooth is prepared for an amalgam filling, they have to be undercut (so the hole is wider at the bottom of the tooth). This is because the amalgam must be wedged in position, and not fall out, as shown below.

Amalgam fillings expand and contract over the years, due to heat and cold. They can also weaken and damage teeth, and let’s face it – they’re not attractive!

We Treat Patients Like Family

We recommend the same treatment to our patients that we’d recommend to our family and ourselves.

We use composite resin fillings because they wear better and last longer than amalgams when correctly placed. Plus, white fillings are more attractive.

White fillings have less potential health risks, are durable and don’t leak. We believe they strengthen teeth while looking great.

Our philosophy is to care for our patients the way we’d care for our family. We’re always happy to discuss any treatment concerns and offer options to reduce any dental anxiety you may be feeling.

We also use state-of-the-art techniques and materials with properties similar to tooth structure such as composite resin or porcelain. We know your time is precious so we use technology like Cerec to make your treatment faster and more comfortable.

We make recommendations based on where the restoration will be placed, the loads they will be subjected to as well as their size and position. We work holistically and take into consideration your lifestyle, your health, and your comfort.

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