Amalgam Fillings: Should They Be Replaced?

What is a filling?

Receiving a dental filling is a common procedure that many people have personally experienced. As a bit of a background, a filling becomes necessary when a tooth is damaged by decay and needs to be restored and protected. The function of a filling is to both seal off any spaces where bacteria could enter, and to reshape the tooth to its original form and function. Fillings are an invaluable part of dental work because they offer both a solution for present damage, and act as preventative guards against potential future damage.

A variety of materials are used to create fillings: gold, porcelain, a composite resin, or an amalgam (commonly referred to as silver fillings) are all common choices. There is no ‘best’ type of filling for ALL teeth, and the right option for you is truly dependent on your dentist’s preference, your individual repair needs and your personal preference.

Why remove a filling?

There are a few different reasons one may want to replace a filling, including a more natural look. Porcelain and composite resins look the most natural and are placed to match your tooth color, and it is not uncommon for those with gold and silver fillings to request these more subtle options. Each type of filling has its own lifespan, which can BeforeAndAfter Imgrange from just a few years to several decades, so sometimes a routine replacement may also be in order.

However, in addition to appearance and time, there is also a debate surrounding the use of amalgam fillings.

(NEUTRAL AMALGAM) What is the amalgam filling debate?

By definition, the word ‘amalgam’ is synonymous with the words ‘mixture’ or ‘blend’. As an example, a smoothie would be considered an amalgam of fruits!

In the dental world, ‘amalgam’ as it is used to describe a filling indicates it is a mixture of materials – this means that silver fillings are not pure silver, they have other similar materials in them as well. The proposed problem with these fillings is that the material could contain toxic or harmful matter that could negatively affect your health.

Unfortunately, it isn’t so simple. The biggest concern expressed by those opposed to amalgam fillings is the potential exposure to mercury, and patients potentially being “poisoned” as a result. That does sound awful, until you consider that we are all exposed to some level of mercury. Mercury is present in fish! A person would have to eat a lot of fish before there was any risk of poisoning, and the same could be said about a small tooth filling that is mostly made of silver. On the other hand, we understand if you have concerns about the material used in your filling.

If you already have an amalgam filling, it’s important to note that removing a filling when not completely necessary is an extra procedure, and with any medical procedure there are always risks involved. If you are getting a new filling and are uncomfortable with the idea of amalgam, just let us know and we can find an option that is right for you. There are many choices when it comes to your filling material, and we want you to walk out of our office feeling confident with your smile and your health.

(PRO AMALGAM) Amalgam fillings are safe and affordable

By definition, the word ‘amalgam’ is synonymous with the words ‘mixture’ or ‘blend’. As an example, a smoothie would be considered an amalgam of fruits!

In the dental world, ‘amalgam’ as it is used to describe a filling indicates it is a mixture of materials – this means that silver fillings are not pure silver, they have other similar materials in them as well. The proposed problem with these fillings is that the material could contain toxic or harmful matter that could negatively affect your health.

The problem with the problem is…these claims have simply not been proved. A lot of research has been conducted to ensure the safety of patients, but time and time again amalgam fillings are found to be safe, durable, and affordable. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) directly states that “the removal of amalgam restorations from the non-allergic patient for the alleged purpose of removing toxic substances from the body, when such treatment is performed solely at the recommendation or suggestion of the dentist, is improper and unethical”. This means that removing the filling creates an even bigger health risk to the patient because amalgam fillings are completely non-toxic!

We value our patients’ health, and unnecessarily removing fillings that are non-toxic would be a risk that we would not recommend. So if you have amalgam fillings, just enjoy the fact that they are keeping your smile healthy and preventing pesky bacteria from further damaging your tooth!

(ANTI AMALGAM) The danger of amalgam fillings

By definition, the word ‘amalgam’ is synonymous with the words ‘mixture’ or ‘blend’.  As an example, a smoothie would be considered an amalgam of fruits!

In the dental world, ‘amalgam’ as it is used to describe a filling indicates it is a mixture of materials – this means that silver fillings are not pure silver, they have other similar materials in them as well. The proposed problem with these fillings is that the material could contain toxic or harmful matter that could negatively affect your health. In many cases, the silver is mixed with mercury, so many worry about patients contracting mercury poisoning!  Dental fillings are supposed to offer a health solution, not cause more health complications.

While it has yet to be proved for certain that amalgam material causes these problems, if there is any question about the safety of our patients – that’s not a risk we are willing to take. For that reason, we can remove amalgam fillings and offer certifiably safe alternatives to ensure you walk out of our office with a healthy smile.

Dr. Carl Trubschenck

Phone: (916) 961-1610

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