FAQ About Amalgam Fillings

On March 28th’s airing of the Doctor Oz program, Dr. Oz and his guests suggested that amalgams (metal fillings), containing mercury, can cause serious health issues, including anxiety, memory loss and autoimmune disorders. Since newer restorative  materials (ceramics and poreclains) are  just as durable as metal fillings and  provide better esthetics, Gallery57Dental does not place amalgam fillings.

We recognize many of our patients have amalgam restorations from years past.  Though we do not place metal restorations, we would like to provide our patients with the most accurate up-to-date information, and links to other sources and  professional guidelines regarding amalgam restorations.

Why does Gallery57Dental not use amalgam restorations?
At Gallery 57 Dental, we use primarily ceramics and composites for filling and restoring teeth.  While amalgam restorations do contain mercury, evidence and ADA Guidelines support (and we believe) that the mercury in amalgams is NOT dangerous.  However, amalgam restorations have other serious limitations.  Amalgam restorations expand over time which can lead to cracks in the tooth.  Additionally, the silver color and metallic handling properties of amalgam hamper the esthetics of the restoration.

Are fillings containing mercury poison?
This claim dates back further than the 30 years Dr. Oz claims and has been extensively studied. Mercury certainly is poison and a significant environmental toxin. The question is whether the mercury that is mixed with silver in dental fillings contributes to the mercury level of individuals who have amalgam fillings. There is strong scientific evidence, that has been verified repeatedly over many studies and decades, stating that the mercury in fillings is strongly bound to the silver and is not a significant factor in the level of mercury in an individual.

Does mercury “leak” when we eat or drink if we have amalgam fillings?
The answer is yes but in such miniscule quantities that there is no impact on our health or the level of mercury in our body.  The amount of mercury we are exposed to from every day sources such as water and fish far exceed the contribution of dental amalgams.

Does mercury in amalgam contribute to other systemic diseases?
While you can easily find “alarmist” reports on the internet, there is NO scientific evidence that the mercury in dental fillings contributes to any systemic diseases.

Is there a benefit to removing my old amalgam fillings?
If the amalgam fillings are no longer properly sealing bacteria from the cavity or are cracking the remaining tooth they should be replaced, as with any other filling that’s no longer protecting the tooth.  Unless there are aesthetic issues, good fitting amalgams can be left in place knowing they pose no health problems.

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