- Category: ABC of Dental Questions
Dental amalgam is a blend of metals such as silver, copper and tin. Mercury binds these metals together, providing a strong, hard, durable 'silver' filling for your teeth. Dental amalgam is less expensive than other materials
Do amalgam fillings release mercury?
If you have amalgam fillings, mercury vapour may be released when you chew vigorously or grind your teeth. The amount of vapour released from fillings is extremely small. There is no valid scientific evidence that associates this tiny amount of mercury vapour with any health problems
Is the mercury in my amalgam fillings safe?
The mercury used in fillings is safe for most people. Authorities such as the British Dental Association, US Public Health Service, FDI World Dental Federation and World Health Organisation state that amalgam has been used for more than 150 years in millions of patients and no controlled studies have shown adverse health effects, except for rare cases of mercury allergy.
I've heard that people are cured from illness when amalgam fillings are removed - is this true?
Stories of overnight cures from serious diseases have never been supported by sound scientific evaluation. If you are concerned about your amalgam fillings your dentist will be happy to discuss the benefits and risks of replacing them.
What are the alternatives to amalgam fillings?
Composite fillings are tooth coloured and have been used for front fillings for many years.Modern composite filling materials are now available for back teeth.They generally don't wear as well as amalgam, but this should be weighed up against their excellent appearance and any concerns you may have about mercury release. Composites are effective if the cavities are not very wide, and only involve one or two surfaces of the tooth. Gold or porcelain inlays, overlays and crowns are very effective for treating very broken down teeth due to their strength and long - term durability. They are more expensive than other materials but generally last a decade or more. To find out which treatment is best for you, and the costs involved, talk to your dentist.