Dental amalgam is used to fill dental gaps caused by tooth decay. About half of amalgam is made of mercury, as well as other metals like tin and silver. Supporters of amalgam argue that it’s a safe, affordable and long-lasting solution to dental problems. In recent years, the use of mercury for dental fillings has been questioned and linked to brain and kidney damage. So is it suitable for treatment?
The reason for concern comes from the natural release of mercury vapour from within dental fillings. Vapours are absorbed into the bloodstream and lungs, and eventually released through urine.
In reality, mercury exposition occurs every day through air, water and food. As with many elements, the real concern should not be whether one is exposed to it, but rather how much so. Hence, in recent years there have been worries regarding the amount of mercury build up in fish due to pollution. High levels can lead to headaches, memory loss and anxiety.
Having said that, several reviews now suggest that the amount released in fillings is minimal, and certainly not sufficient to cause body harm. Most medical bodies including the scientific committee of the European Commission acknowledge this. Hence, even NHS fillings now contain some mercury.
If you currently have mercury fillings you wish to replace, there are other options available on the market although no mainstream dental organisation recommend changing them provided they are in good condition. In actual fact, drilling out amalgam will most likely expose you to more mercury vapour than if left untouched.
Of course, many people are allergic to mercury which is a far more valid reason to seek alternatives. If you’re one of those people, get in touch to discuss our mercury-free treatments.