Many of us are walking around with amalgam or “silver fillings.” For some of us we have had the mercury fillings for over 20 years. Many dental practices in the United States have discontinued their use, yet according to the American Dental Association 47% of dentists still place amalgam fillings.
Amalgam fillings are approximately 50% mercury along with a mixture of tin, silver and copper. The use of this material has been widely debated and continues to be an important topic.
The World Health Organization reports that up to 53% of environmental mercury comes from amalgam and laboratory devices.
In 2008 Scandinavian countries acted and banned amalgams for health and environmental reasons. As more information and concern regarding amalgam fillings has come to light, “Should I replace my “silver fillings” has become a common question.
If amalgam fillings are 20 years and older, causing gum inflammation, have decay underneath or cause issues when flossing I do recommend replacing them with a non-amalgam restoration. According to States Clinical Prof. NYU, Prosthodontist, Reconstruction & Aesthetic Dentistry Johnathan B. Levine DMD. “There are terrific restorative options that we currently have in the dental profession other than silver fillings, including direct composite fillings, a cost-effective option, or the more expensive laboratory-fabricated porcelain and/or gold restoration that strengthen the teeth without the potential long-term health risks.” I recommend that patients have a comprehensive exam and create a plan to treat any urgent needs (cavities, broken teeth, gum disease) followed by a long term plan to remove and replace old amalgams. I believe that unless absolutely necessary, removing all amalgams in a very short window should be avoided as that can increase mercury exposure.
Education is the key to an informed decision, do your homework, ask your dentist, and make healthy choices.
Healthy teeth are beautiful. That’s the truth about amalgam fillings and that’s Beauty Observed.
Jenifer C. Back DMD
Sarasota Smile Design
3800 Clark Rd. Sarasota.