All you've ever wanted to know about Amalgam Fillings - Silver
If you were to attend a
lecture on dentistry practices of the mid 19th century you might
expect to be educated on wooden
teeth, but surprisingly this bygone era produced many modern
advances in the field including the use of amalgam fillings
(better known as “silver fillings”).
Over a century later, Amalgam
fillings are still a popular way to fill cavities, but this
practice over the past few years has been under scrutiny.
Amalgam fillings contain various metals including mercury, which
many believe is released into the body when the filling is
installed causing harm to the patients.
The American Dental Association
as well as many other health organizations though disagree with
toxicity experts, believing the fillings to be perfectly safe.
Dentists still use amalgam fillings today, which leaves the
decision up to the patient on whether to decide if they’re safe
or not. Here are the main arguments in favor and in opposition
of the use of amalgam fillings:
The following are theories
based on studies done by mercury toxicity experts and medical
researchers on what effects mercury has when released into the
body through an amalgam filling. These possible effects are
thought to occur several years after exposure to the metal.
Oral Effects: a metallic
taste in the mouth, mouth sores,
gingivitis an excess of saliva, and bleeding gums.
abdominal cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and
sensitivities to certain foods.
abnormally high or low blood pressure, irregular heart
rhythm, and congestive heart failure
behavioral changes in mood and motor function, tremors,
anxiety, depression, memory loss, and headaches.
Infertility, and a presence of mercury in breast milk as
well as in the tissue of a maturing fetus.
Other Possible Effects:
Impaired kidney function, a disruption of bacteria normally
present in the digestive tract, dermatitis, thyroid
complications, chronic fatigue, excessive perspiration,
unexplained anemia and allergies.
It is believed that mercury
can also increase a patient’s risk of developing: an adrenal
disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Hodgkin’s Disease, leukemia,
lupus, multiple sclerosis, mononucleosis, scleroderma, as well
as affect the body’s immune system.
The following organizations:
the American Dental Association, the Food and Drug
Administration, the National Institute of Dental Research, the
United States Public Health Service, the Consumers Union, and
other health associations believe amalgam fillings pose no
threat. They believe the fillings are:
A practical and a quick
way to fill a cavity
Amalgam fillings have been
around for over a century and have proven to be not only
reliable, but safe.
In the fillings, mercury
is mixed with the other metals (silver, copper, and tin)
which chemically bind together to form stable compounds,
leaving only small amounts of mercury.
Everyday, people are
exposed to more significant sources of mercury through food,
water, and air pollution.
There is no scientific
evidence that links mercury to multiple sclerosis,
degenerative or neurological diseases.
It is true that small
amounts of mercury vapor can be released from the fillings,
but for it to even have the tiniest affect on a person they
would have to have almost 500 amalgam fillings.
The use of amalgam
fillings is the most widely practiced way to treat cavities
and if they were harmful effects they would be seen
worldwide on large amount of the population.
Even though amalgam fillings
has been the primary way dentists fill cavities, there are
Gold fillings are a great
option - being the only alternative method that is as
durable as amalgam and is actually stronger, but the
downside is that it is more costly, takes more than one
appointment to fill cavity, and is does not look natural in
Composite resins (“white
fillings”) though are more natural- looking, but require
more time to place and break easier than amalgam. They can
also release chemicals, such as bisphenol-A and
Porcelain fillings, the
most aesthetically pleasing option, keeps teeth looking like
teeth, but are very costly and take more time to put in. It
is also not as durable as amalgam and the fillings can be
hard against other teeth when chewing.