Should I Have My Silver Amalgam Fillings Removed?
White composite fillings are safer and more attractive than mercury fillings.
For many years, silver amalgam fillings made from a combination of mercury, silver, tin, copper, and other metals were the standard. However, in recent years they have become controversial due to their mercury content. A silver filling can be up to 50 percent mercury, a heavy metal known to cause serious health problems in large doses. While the FDA maintains that amalgam fillings are safe, many people are choosing not to risk mercury in their mouths at all.
Reasons to Remove a Silver Amalgam Filling
According to the FDA, the minimal amount of mercury vapor released from amalgam fillings on a daily basis is not dangerous. In fact, you likely encounter more mercury simply from normal environmental exposure every day than you would from a filling. However, this is only true so long as the filling is intact. If your filling becomes damaged, you absolutely should remove it to avoid ingesting mercury. You would also want to remove your filling if:
- Your tooth has cracked
- The filling has failed resulting in new decay around or beneath the filling
- You have a metal allergy
- You are tired of the look of metal in your mouth
Steps to Minimize Exposure
Drilling a silver amalgam filling out of the tooth in order to remove it can be dangerous, due to the increased amount of mercury vapor that will be generated, as well as the potential for swallowing or inhaling dust or fine particles from the filling. It is absolutely essential to choose a dentist that is experienced in safe amalgam filling removal in order to protect yourself during the procedure. At California Dental Group, we understand best practices for amalgam filling removal so we can take steps to avoid exposing you to dangerous levels of mercury during your procedure.
Alternatives to Amalgam
If you were happy with your silver amalgam filling and have no concerns about the minimal mercury vapor released from intact fillings, you may choose to get a new silver filling placed. Silver amalgam is generally the most affordable option, and it is also considered very durable. However, you do have other options. White composite fillings are now the restoration of choice for patients who want a metal-free solution to cavities. In addition to being completely non-toxic, white metal fillings also look very natural and can be shaded to match your own tooth enamel perfectly. If your tooth has become too damaged or decayed to hold a new filling, we can also offer metal-free crowns or bridges. To learn more about our metal-free restorations, please contact one of our 7 clinics for an appointment.