Dental Tips Blog


Are There Risks of Getting Mercury Poisoning from a Dental Filling?

Posted in Fillings

Could something as simple as a dental filling cause mercury poisoning?

Here’s what you need to know.

What Is in Dental Fillings

Amalgam or silver fillings often contain some combination of these metals: silver, nickel, zinc, copper, tin, and mercury. Why the mercury?

Mercury helps mix the metals in a liquid form, allows the dentist to shape and pack the filling like a putty, and then it hardens everything into a lasting restoration.

Silver fillings are fast and cost-effective to make. But more of today’s restorations are made from mixes of resin and ceramic and don’t require any mercury. These fillings are tooth-colored and carry no risk of mercury poisoning, at all.

Is There Any Risk from Silver Fillings?

Having a metal filling in your mouth is not toxic. Even if you swallowed some of an amalgam filling it wouldn’t harm you. Inhaling mercury vapors is what causes trouble.

Very few vapors come off from an amalgam restoration. You are exposed to more mercury vapors from other environmental sources than from your dental work. Still, you may want to avoid silver fillings if you are already exposed to a lot of mercury, such as through your job.

Reduce Your Risk for Mercury Poisoning

Ongoing studies are investigating the risks of mercury-based metal fillings. But so far, the research shows no risk of poisoning.

If you have metal filling that’s in good shape, there’s no rush to replace it. Your dentist can remove an amalgam restoration if it’s broken, there is decay under it, or if you want a whiter smile.

Ask your dentist for a consultation to find out what your best restorative option is.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751


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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