Should you worry about having a mouthful of mercury?
Dental amalgam is used to repair cavities caused by tooth decay. It’s not new. Dentists a century and a half ago were using it. About half of amalgam is made of mercury, the rest from other metals such as silver and tin. Dentists say it is the strongest, cheapest and longest-lasting filling in the business, but in the past 20 years mercury has been identified as an environmental hazard and linked to Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney and brain damage .
The mercury in fillings releases low levels of mercury vapor, which is absorbed into the bloodstream in the lungs and then taken to the kidneys to be passed out in the urine. High levels of vapor are associated with harming the kidneys and brain. But research shows that even if you have 15 fillings, the vapor you release is too low to cause harm. In 2013 a small research study published in Environmental Science and Technology claimed that the test most commonly used to measure exposure from dental amalgam may even overestimate the amount that comes from fillings.
The bulk of research evidence finds no link between amalgam and health complaints, except in those who are allergic to mercury (about 3% of people) who may get mouth sores and skin rashes.
Studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association show no adverse effects on the brain or kidneys in children over six, and in the US the Food and Drug Administration says it is doubtful that traces of mercury would reach risky levels in children under six. No mainstream dental organizations recommend you replace your amalgam fillings as long as they are in good condition and there is no decay beneath them. Drilling out amalgam will make you lose additional healthy tooth and the process will expose you to considerably more mercury vapor than if you left it well alone.
If you are concerned about having silver fillings in your mouth, please call Proven Dental at 262.650.3000 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Murphy to discuss your particular case.