Are amalgam (“metal” or “silver”) fillings linked with cancer? It’s important to have the information you need to make a smart decision about your restorative needs.
Why The Issue Comes Up
Amalgam fillings are a combination of metals such as silver, tin, copper, and mercury. People have worried for a long time that traces of mercury are released over time.
Mercury poisoning is a legitimate concern. Exposure to the element can cause problems to developing babies, small children, and the immune system, nervous system, eyes, kidneys, and skin of adults. There many other possible complications.
What the Facts Show
The bottom line is that there is too little mercury in dental fillings to have an effect. You are at far greater risk of mercury poisoning by eating seafood that contains high levels of the element.
The FDA has stated that metal fillings safe for people ages 6 and up. And the ADA (American Dental Association) states that there is no risk of cancer from mercury in amalgam fillings.
Would you like to check with the cancer experts? The ACS (American Cancer Society) also says that there is no scientifically measurable link between metal fillings and cancer of any kind.
Should You Be Worried?
Not necessarily. It’s up to you to make a decision you’re comfortable with!
Some folks like metal fillings for being faster, cheaper, and stronger. Others prefer the peace of mind they get from metal-free white fillings which are gradually phasing out metal fillings, anyway. Talk with your dentist about which restoration is right for you.
Posted on behalf of:
Mendota Springs Dentistry
6317 McKee Rd #500
Fitchurg, WI 53719
Amalgam fillings, more commonly known as metal fillings, have long been the subject of debate. These older types of fillings are made from a blend of copper, silver and mercury and for decades, were the standard type of tooth filling used in dentistry. Since the 1970s however, research into the effects of metal toxicity on the human body has brought the safety of metal fillings into question. Several studies have linked metal fillings to gastrointestinal problems, neurological problems, sleep disturbances, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney damage, oral pathologies, and immune system disorders. In light of the controversy surrounding amalgam fillings, many dental practices now offer filling replacement services.
Dentists who remove mercury fillings carefully follow a set of protocols to ensure that the fillings are removed safely. During removal of mercury fillings, as the dentist drills out the filling, the patient is exposed to harmful mercury, copper, and silver vapors; thus, precautions are taken to minimize the effects of heavy metal ingestion on the patient. Usually, the patient will be given a high oral dose of vitamin C, an antioxidant that works to removes or detoxify the body of heavy metals. The patient will also be given an oxygen mask with a built-in filter; this way, the patient is breathing in clean air, rather than airborne heavy metal particles.
During filling removal, the dental assistant will also use a suction hose, air-water syringe, and another tool called a high volume evacuator to constantly vacuum away debris and keep the mouth clean and dry. This is done to keep the patient from swallowing pieces of metal and to reduce the possibility of infection. Once the metal filling is out and the patient has rinsed with water to clean the mouth of any remaining metal fragments, the next step is re-plugging the tooth with a composite filling. These non-metal fillings are non-toxic and match the color of the teeth so that they appear natural. After the procedure, the patient is typically given activated charcoal pills to take which further detox the body of heavy metals.
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