Are amalgam or “silver” fillings safe to place in your mouth? That’s a great question that has been debated for years. While the American Dental Association still recognizes amalgam fillings as an acceptable restorative material, there are some facts that can’t be ignored.
- Amalgam fillings, sometimes called silver fillings, contain about 50% mercury. Mercury is universally recognized as a highly toxic heavy metal.
- Amalgam fillings do not have any adhesive quality—there’s no stick. It has to be wedged into place. This is a problem because more tooth structure must be removed to shape the tooth in such a way that the filling will stay in place. Wedging the filling tightly into place can also cause microfractures in the tooth, allowing bacteria to enter the tooth and cause further problems.
- Amalgam fillings expand and contract with temperature changes at a different rate than the surrounding tooth, which can cause fractures that weaken the tooth.
- Amalgam fillings aren’t pretty, and they can discolor the surrounding tooth over time.
- Bonus 6th grade science fact! Metal (fillings) + moisture (saliva) + warmth (average body temp. 98.6) = battery. That’s right, metal fillings can produce a battery effect in the mouth. Measurable voltages have been detected and documented.
Safe Mercury Removal
Now that we’ve established the drawbacks of amalgam fillings, what do you do if you have some that you want taken out?
If you just want your amalgam fillings out, any dentist can do that. If you want them removed properly, you will need to see a dentist who has been trained to remove mercury from your mouth safely.
As a holistic and biocompatible dentist in Idaho Falls, Dr. Baker has committed to Mercury Free Dentistry. This means that not only does he no longer place amalgam fillings, but has instituted other precautionary measures for your safety-and ours. Dr. Baker is a member of the Multi-Discipline Alliance and he and his team have had extensive training in current methods for safe removal of dental amalgams. The Center for Cosmetic and Biocompatible Dentistry uses high volume suction, large quantities of water spray, rubber dams, oxygen for the patient, and negative ion generators to capture mercury vapors released during the removal process. We also utilize an Amalgam Separator, which removes amalgam from the waste water to protect the water quality for all of us. We can safely remove your amalgam fillings and replace them with resin tooth fillings.