Maybe this time to the dentist, your teeth didn’t check out as well as you had hoped.
And now, your dentist is recommending that you get a filling and gives you a couple of handouts concerning the procedure and what to expect.
You notice that the filling material your dentist is going to use is amalgam, which raises alarm bells in your mind.
You’ve heard that amalgam is a risky material since it contains mercury and you’re now hesitant to proceed with the procedure.
To calm your fears and know your options for your fillings, this article will outline the facts about amalgam.
What is Amalgam Made Of?
Amalgam is a combination of metals that include mercury, which raises a red flag for many people.
Dentists use amalgam since it is less costly than alternative and is more durable.
Is it Safe to Use Amalgam?
Amalgam fillings are very common; however, over the years people have raised concerns over the mercury content.
There have been numerous studies evaluating the safety of amalgam fillings. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assessed this research and concluded no justification to stop or reduce the use of amalgam.
Why is mercury used in Amalgam?
Mercury is used in amalgam since it makes the filing more flexible and durable. During the procedure, the mercury in the mixture also toughens quicker.
Why is There a Concern About Amalgam in Fillings?
Just to be clear, Mercury is a naturally occurring metal and exists in a liquid form. At high enough temperatures, it becomes a gas.
At some point, you’ll be exposed to mercury in your life, which is ok. Mercury is found in the air, water, and soil. At low doses, the element is harmless to the human body. Mercury becomes a worry when high concentrations build up in your body.
The concern over amalgam focuses on how much mercury the body retains from the fillings. In the early days of amalgam fillings, dentists thought the element was inactive. Recently, more developed tests show very small amounts of mercury vapor which is released as the fillings wear out.
Research results have concluded that the mercury amounts in the fillings are far less than the amount you’d be exposed to in nature or the food you eat.
Why Do Dentists Take Safety Measures for Amalgam?
Dentists are also at risk when they use amalgam so they must take safety measures for themselves. If they don’t take certain safety measures, they would breath-in mercury and would eventually show signs of mercury poisoning.
In order to make the filling, dentists combine liquid mercury with a powder consisting of silver and other types of metals.
After the dentists mix and make the filling compound, it is ready to be put on your tooth. At this point, the tiny amount of mercury that is mixed with other metals makes it no longer harmful to you. After the filling is put on your tooth, your dentists will use a powerful suction tool to be sure that excess mercury is gone.
To make sure the extra amalgam doesn’t wash into the sewer system, your dentist puts it special filters in the sink.
What is the Alternative to Amalgam?
There aren’t any amalgam-free fillings available at this time. There is a dental filling that has both indium and mercury. The indium helps contain the mercury in the filling compound. This reduces the risk of mercury spread and retention in your body. The high-copper amalgams filling has more copper than mercury.
Dentists can use a compound of resin, porcelain, and even gold to restore teeth. However, amalgam is the strongest and most durable of all the alternatives and it takes less time to make a compound and mold. A compound of resin mimics the color of a tooth and since it wears downs quicker than amalgam, it can’t always be used.
Do I Have Look for an Amalgam-Free Dentist?
Only if you have an allergy to Mercury should you look for a dentist that doesn’t use amalgam in their practice. It is not necessary to seek treatment at a practice that does not use mercury. If you just have concerns about mercury, then discuss it with your dentist and enquire, if any, alternatives are available to you.
What About My Current Amalgam Fillings?
There’s no medical reason to replace your current amalgam fillings unless they are worn down or broken.
Keep in mind, replacing a perfectly good filling causes you to lose healthy parts of your tooth and it can emit more mercury.
If you’re really worried, then talk to your dentist and they’ll help you figure out a solution.
Author Bio: This article has been written by Paul Lee on behalf of Thantakit Dental Center – Bangkok, Thailand. If you’ve any concern about Safe Amalgam Removal Procedures, talk to one of the dental experts at Thantakit.