Are Dental Fillings Harmful?

Are Dental Fillings Harmful?

February 4, 2021

When dentists have to treat a cavity caused by tooth decay, they use various kinds of filling materials depending on the location of the hole and the extent of the damage. If you need a cavity filled, you can discuss with the dentist in Mesa about which filling material is best for your infected tooth.

Dentists routinely use amalgam filling materials for tooth filling. Dental amalgam comprises metals with liquid mercury and a powdered alloy of silver, tin, and copper. Roughly 50 percent of dental amalgam contains liquid mercury. The chemical properties of liquid mercury permit it to bind together the tin, copper, and silver alloy particles, forming an amalgam.

Dental amalgam fillings are alternatively referred to as silver fillings because of their similar appearance. However, the alternative name is not recommended because the description does not precisely explain what materials are present in amalgam.

When placing amalgam fillings, dentists drill the tooth for decay removal and shape the tooth cavity to place the amalgam filling. The dentist uses appropriate safety precautions when mixing the powdered alloys with liquid mercury to form the amalgam putty. The amalgam putty is placed in the shaped and prepared cavity to rapidly harden into a durable filling.

Things You Should Know Before Getting Dental Amalgam Fillings

Suppose your dentist recommends dental amalgam fillings. In that case, you may be concerned that dental amalgam can cause health problems because you may have read in the print and electronic media about activists creating a stir about the mercury present in dental amalgam. However, it will be helpful if you also read about the benefits of dental amalgam fillings for your natural teeth

  • Dental amalgam fillings are durable and long-lasting, and less likely to break than other types of dental fillings.
  • If you are at a higher risk of tooth decay or need extensive tooth preparations making it challenging for other materials like composite resin to bond to the tooth, you will find dental amalgam fillings better for your needs.
  • If you don’t want to spend a significant sum on restoring the natural teeth will find amalgam fillings and affordable option.
  • Dental amalgam fillings are used for over a century on billions of patients globally.

Dental Amalgam Fillings Also Have Their Downsides

  • Dental amalgam fillings containing liquid mercury release low levels of this element in vapor form that may be inhaled or absorbed by the lungs.
  • Exposure to high levels of mercury vapor occurring in occupational settings is associated with adverse brain and kidney effects.
  • Despite available evidence not showing exposure from dental amalgam has adverse health effects, mercury exposure is a potential risk for some people that are more susceptible to the adverse effects associated with mercury.

Should You Be Scared of Dental Amalgam Fillings?

Billions of people throughout the globe have dental amalgam fillings on their natural teeth. People are receiving these fillings for over 150 years. Activists argue about the toxicity of mercury and have approached legal luminaries to dispute the use of dental amalgam in cavity fillings.

Thus far, no evidence is available to confirm that the mercury vapor released from amalgam fillings results in negative health effects among the general population. On the contrary, information is available that your body processes different forms of mercury differently and has various levels of tolerance to mercury vapor.

Some people would be at a higher risk to acceptable exposure levels of mercury vapor. However, the information received by the FDA has many uncertainties. Most of the evidence available confirms the mercury from dental amalgam does not result in adverse health effects in the population. Some people are classified as high risk for the potential side effects of mercury. These people are:

  • Pregnant women with developing fetuses.
  • Women planning a pregnancy.
  • Nursing women, newborns, and infants.
  • Young children aged below six years.
  • People with pre-existing neurological conditions.
  • People with impaired kidney functions.
  • People with allergic reactions to mercury and other components of dental amalgam fillings.

If you are not in the high-risk category and are in good physical health, rest assured dental amalgam fillings are unlikely to cause mercury vapor health problems. However, if you are in the high-risk category, the FDA recommends you request non-amalgam fillings from your dentist after a discussion to determine whether the materials are appropriate for your affected tooth. However, we can confirm dental amalgam fillings are not harmful to your overall health.

Are you worried about having dental amalgam fillings on your teeth? Learn why you must take the fears out of your mind and have them if recommended by reading this article.

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