Amalgam fillings, which are made by combining mercury with other metals, have been used as a tooth filling material for over 100 years. But due to recent concerns about the safety of mercury, and the search for a more aesthetic material that requires less intervention, alternative mercury-free, tooth-colored materials have become increasingly popular.
Mercury-free fillings can be used to restore most kinds of tooth damage, including cracks, fractures, and decay – after removing the infection. These tooth-colored composites not only offer long-term safety but are also virtually undetectable and blend perfectly with your teeth, giving you a natural smile.
Previously, patients opted to have amalgam fillings in their back teeth because it’s stronger and more durable than tooth-colored materials. However, modern mercury-free fillings are extremely tough and can withstand chewing forces just as well as amalgam fillings.
But is it safe to remove and replace amalgam fillings?
The main exposure to mercury from dental amalgam typically happens during placement or removal of the fillings. Patients are mostly exposed to mercury by inhaling its vapor since there’s very little absorption via ingestion or skin contact.
Besides the risk of mercury intoxication, amalgam fillings tend to expand and contract more than the natural tooth with varying temperature conditions. This disparity increases the risk of micro-leakages when the silver fillings pull away from the natural tooth structure, creating a cavity that can trap food particles and bacteria, increasing the risk of tooth decay and potential tooth loss.
This means that it’s not necessarily a good idea to remove amalgam fillings and replace them with composite material, unless:
- You want to remove them for medical reasons or allergic reactions
- They’re damaged to the extent of forming gaps in the repaired tooth
If your amalgam fillings are in perfect condition, it might be a good idea to leave them intact. But it’s recommended that you consult a holistic dentist for professional advice on amalgam fillings removal.
To find out whether you’re a good candidate for amalgam fillings removal, please call us at 352.620.0093 to discuss your situation, or visit Smart Dentistry in Ocala, 34471 for a free consultation.