I have a single filling in my mouth. It’s one of those silver ones that everyone is terrified of these days. I’ve had it for almost 20 years and it’s never bothered me. Is it really necessary for me to remove it? If so, do I really need a mercury-free dentist?
Dear Kathy Lee,
While the American Dental Association still insists amalgam (silver) fillings are safe, with the largest ingredient being mercury, you can understand why there is growing concern.
The tests performed on these type of fillings are always done on static subjects. This means we have no real results on people who are eating or brushing their teeth. We also don’t know how much is released over a lifetime of wear and when that leads to health or neurological issues.
Because we have a great alternative now in white composite fillings more and more dentists are becoming mercury-free.
When Should You Remove Silver Fillings?
The first thing I’d recommend, because of the age of your filling, is to see whether it has started to leak or crack. This can occur as amalgam fillings age, causing you to ingest mercury.
If it’s reached that point, it’s time to replace it. If it hasn’t reached that point, it’s really up to you. At some point it will wear out and you may want to just get it over with.
Sanitary Amalgam Removal
There is a special procedure called a sanitary amalgam removal that not all dentists are aware of. It uses a stopper dam to prevent you from swallowing pieces, a special ventilation system to keep the vapors away, and they’ll be sure to use cold water on the filling during the removal because any warmth can cause it to melt.
These precautions are important and for your protection. There are two types of dentists who are likely to know how this works and have the tools available.
The first is a holistic dentist. They care about the affect a treatment has on your whole body, not just your teeth. The second is the mercury-free dentist you keep hearing about.
Either one of them can safely remove your filling and replace it with a strong composite filling.
This blog is brought to you by Vero Beach Dentist Dr. Rick Root.