Are Silver Fillings Harming Your Health and What Can Be Done to Replace Them?
You may have heard recently on the news or social media that silver fillings can be toxic. With all the misinformation out there, it’s easy to feel worried and confused. That’s why you need the truth from a source you can trust. Are silver fillings harming your health? If so, what can you do about it?
Unfortunately, silver fillings have a potential danger. You see, the term “silver filling” is a misnomer. Silver fillings are made of more than just silver. They are actually an amalgam or combination of several metals, as well as silver. Most silver amalgam fillings also contain copper and tin– and even mercury.
Mercury is a metal that is toxic if the body absorbs to too much. Mercury builds up in the body and damages organs such as your kidneys and your brain and eventually contributes to neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. As silver fillings experience wear from everyday activities like chewing, the mercury is released in vapor form, which could be absorbed by the body.
How much mercury vapor is actually absorbed? Probably very little. Mercury in fillings is in pure metal form. Unlike mercury absorbed from consuming fish, mercury in fillings have no organic molecules that make it easy for the body to take in. That’s why American Dental Association and the FDA still certify silver fillings as a safe option for patients over the age of 6.
Why Is Mercury Even Used In Silver Fillings If It’s Potentially Harmful to Your Health?
Dentists didn’t always know that the mercury in silver fillings could ever be harmful because mercury itself isn’t dangerous unless it is absorbed into the body. For many years, the medical community assumed that fillings remained a mix of metals, preventing the mercury from being released. Since the mix of metals made a stable, long-lasting, and durable filling, dentists used it as a common treatment after removing cavities. They believed that the silver fillings were completely risk-free.
Recent research, however, indicates that that silver fillings don’t stay a completely stable mix. Small amounts of mercury are released as vapor over time, which is why some people worry that silver fillings can be toxic. While the American Dental Association emphasizes that this amount is generally low enough not to cause toxicity, any damage to the filling could speed up the release of toxic mercury.
Should I Replace My Silver Fillings?
Ultimately, most dentists don’t think you are at significant risk due to your silver fillings. If you feel uncomfortable with any mercury risk, however, even a low one, you can have them removed. Your peace of mind and confidence in your medical decisions are ultimately most important.
If you are uncomfortable with the risks of silver amalgam or simply don’t like their ugly color, there are other options. Porcelain and composite fillings have been created that are just as stable as silver fillings, but without the potential mercury risks. In fact, you can have metal fillings removed and refilled with these options right away. The mercury released during replacement is minimized using a double-suction isolation technique. This process significantly reduces ingestion, as well as the amount of mercury released into the environment.
Of course, no one should have their fillings removed without careful consideration and consultation with a trusted dentist. Sometimes the removal can damage your teeth. An unskilled or inexperienced dentist could even release more mercury vapor during the removal process. The best course of action is to talk to a dentist with experience in non-toxic fillings to get a clear understanding of your options. Come talk to us at Kantor Dental to find out how what we suggest will be the safest course of action for you.
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