Wrentham, MA dentist explains why you should consider the safety of amalgam fillings
Should I be concerned about the safety of my amalgam fillings? This is a question we hear a lot at Advanced Dental Practices in Wrentham, MA. The conversation surrounding amalgam filling has gotten louder over the years, leaving many patients considering their safety. In the following article, we’d like to look at amalgam fillings, including what they are and their potential effects on the body.
What are amalgam fillings?
Amalgam fillings are a metal compound that is easily molded to form a soft, pliable substance. Also called metal or silver fillings, amalgam fillings are formed and placed into a space where tooth decay has been removed from a tooth.
Amalgam fillings have been around in dentistry for over 200 years. They have continued to be a popular choice for cavity fillings for several reasons.
- They are inexpensive – Amalgam is typically less expensive than alternatives such as gold or composite.
- They are convenient – Shaping and placing amalgam fillings is a quick and easy process.
- They are durable – Amalgam fillings are known to be long-lasting.
The concern over amalgam fillings
Amalgam fillings are made of a mixture of metals, including 50% mercury. Over the past few decades, there have been reasons to consider the safety of amalgam fillings as studies have arisen showing the concern about side effects on the body.
If you do your research, you will find that there is a lot of information on both sides of the amalgam debate. The American Dental Association along with several other health-related organizations frequently publishes information stating amalgam fillings are perfectly safe for use. Still, there is reason to look at the potential effects of amalgam fillings on the body.
According to an article published in 2011 by the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, there is data to support the following information about amalgam fillings.
1. In autopsy studies, amalgam fillings are the largest source of mercury found in the human body. The numbers indicate that between 2 and 12 times more mercury is found in individuals with amalgam fillings.
2. Of those individuals with amalgam fillings, many have toxic levels of mercury in organs such as the brain or kidneys.
3. Mercury vapors are up to ten times toxic than lead on neurons in the human body.
Should I have my amalgam fillings removed?
If you have existing amalgam fillings, there are several factors to consider before having them removed. These include how many fillings you have, how long you’ve had them, and how often you are exposed to mercury from other sources.
It’s also important to consider if you fit into one of the following risk factor groups:
Pregnant Women – Studies have shown the risk of mercury exposure in pregnant women and the potential effects on the infant.
Elderly – The risks of amalgam fillings increase the longer they are in the mouth which can put the elderly at a higher risk.
Children – Exposure to mercury in children under 6 can impact brain development.
Known mercury allergy – Individuals with a known allergy or those who have mutations of the MTHFR gene.
Teeth Grinders – When teeth grind, it heats the amalgam fillings, releasing mercury vapors. Many individuals grind their teeth during sleep unbeknownst to them.
The bottom line on the safety of amalgam fillings
While there is evidence of the effects of mercury exposure on the body, it’s important not to panic or make any rushed decisions about existing amalgam fillings. Instead, individuals with amalgam fillings should consult with a knowledgeable and reputable holistic dentist like Dr. Palioca and the team at Advanced Dental Practices.
During a consultation, he can determine if it makes sense to have your amalgam filling or fillings removed. If you do decide to have the amalgam removed, Dr. Palioca is a member of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. He has extensively trained in following the guidelines from the IAOMT about the SMART removal of amalgam fillings. Once removed, the filling will be replaced by a safe alternative such as composite resin or porcelain.
If you are the Wrentham, MA area and have questions about the safety of your amalgam fillings, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at Advanced Dental Practices by calling (508) 456-7111.