Dental Tips Blog


Do Metal Fillings Cause Mercury Poisoning?

Posted in Fillings

This is a valid concern when you’re about to have a foreign material permanently attached to your tooth. Metal (amalgam) fillings have been used for decades to repair teeth with cavities.

Does the latest clinical research prove that metal fillings are harmful? Getting the facts will help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

What Is In Metal Fillings?

Amalgam fillings combine liquid mercury with powdered forms of:

  • Copper
  • Tin
  • Silver

This material sets on its own soon after it is mixed.

What Research Supports

Mercury in this form can safely pass through the digestive tract if swallowed. It is usually only harmful if inhaled in high amounts. The mercury in these fillings can’t leach out at a rate that you can inhale a harmful amount. At present, entities including the WHO, FDA, and ADA all concur that amalgam can be safely used in tooth restoration.

In short, there is no clinical evidence that indicates that a metal filling has caused mercury poisoning. Metal fillings are safe!

Know Your Options

To put patient’s minds at ease, more and more dentists are offering tooth-colored, or composite, fillings. These fillings look much nicer than the metal ones and don’t contain any mercury. It is ultimately up to you to decide which you prefer.

Treating Tooth Decay Is Vital

You may still be a little anxious about having a filling done. Don’t let this stop you from seeking out treatment! Tooth decay is not something you can take lightly. It can lead to pain, infection, and tooth loss. A dental filling cleans out the decay and prevents it from advancing. Talk with your local dentist to learn more about the dental filling materials and procedures you have to choose from.

Posted on behalf of:
Touchstone Dentistry
2441 FM 646 W Suite A
Dickinson, TX 77539
(832) 769-5202


4 Reasons to Update Your Old Metal Fillings

Posted in Fillings

There are a few good reasons why you should update your metal fillings to new white ones. If even one of these reasons is important to you, then that definitely justifies having your old restorations replaced.

1. White (tooth colored) fillings are more aesthetically pleasing.

Gone are the days of having a metal grin! Fillings can now be done with a composite resin material that resembles the color of natural teeth. Unless someone was to look very closely, no one would ever be able to count how many fillings you have.

2. Recurrent decay is common underneath aged metal fillings.

With temperature change, the metal expands and contracts faster than teeth do. This results in very small gaps around the filling, allowing cavity-causing bacteria in. This decay often goes undetected on x-rays because the metal filling is hiding it. Updating your old metal restorations is the ideal opportunity to clean out any decay that has settled in over time.

3. Tooth colored fillings create a more secure bond with the tooth.

Metal fillings don’t chemically bind to teeth. A larger amount of tooth structure has to be removed to provide a mechanical anchor for a metal restoration. Composite fillings form a chemical bond with teeth. This means that they don’t require as much tooth material to be removed.

4. Metal fillings could possibly leak mercury into your system.

The effects of mercury on the body’s nervous system is of great concern to a lot of people. If this concerns you as well, then updating your old fillings could give you peace of mind.

To find out whether or not your existing metal fillings qualify to be upgraded to white ones, visit your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Pacific Sky Dental
6433 Mission St
Daly City, CA 94014
(650) 353-3130


Mercury Dental Fillings

An advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration recently urged the FDA to reconsider its prior ruling that the mercury in dental fillings is safe.  In 2009, the FDA ruled that mercury in amalgam dental fillings did not pose a health risk for most patients.

Responding to public concern following that ruling, the advisory panel was formed and heard two days of testimony from thirty witnesses.  The panel agreed that the FDA’s 2009 ruling was soundly based on information available at the time, but recommended that the FDA consider information that has become available since the 2009 ruling.

Amalgam has been commonly used for dental fillings for decades.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), amalgam is a safe and effective material for dental fillings.  Amalgam is a metallic substance made by a dentist by mixing liquid mercury with powdered silver and other metals to form a putty-like substance.  After removing tooth decay from a tooth, the dentist fills the cavity with amalgam to restore the damage from tooth decay.

Some experts contend that the mercury in amalgam dental fillings poses a neurotoxic health risk, especially for children and fetuses.  However, the American Dental Association and the CDC both maintain that there is no scientific evidence to support the notion that mercury dental fillings are a health hazard.  The results of two clinical trials show that mercury in dental fillings has no harmful health effects in children.

Talk to your dentist if you are concerned about the effects of mercury in your fillings.  Alternatives such as resin composite fillings are an excellent alternative to amalgam.   Your general family care dentist will be happy to explain the advantages of resin composit fillings.

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