Risks of Amalgam Fillings

Are There Risks of Amalgams Fillings?

Dental amalgams are made up of a metal alloy of silver, tin, and copper. Other elements like zinc, palladium, and mercury are also found in amalgam. Even though these elements have been shown to be harmful to humans in certain doses, amalgam fillings are still commonly used in modern dentistry. Before superior composite dental materials were available, amalgam was the most durable option available for fillings.

Scientific facts about dental amalgams:

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Emerging research has shown that the mercury previously believed to be safe for dental amalgams can emit vapors at temperatures less than that of a healthy human body. At certain blood concentrations, these mercury vapors can be absorbed into the body and contribute to health problems. Science of the Total Environment (September 2011, Vol. 409:20, pp. 4257-4268)

Can Mercury Leak from Amalgam (silver) fillings?

Research has shown that mercury vapors are released at temperatures even lower than that of a human body. This suggests that there is a constant release of mercury vapor from amalgam fillings throughout a patient’s life. The mercury can be absorbed into the bloodstream and at certain blood, concentrations can negatively affect various organ systems in the body. The FDA’s current acceptable level of daily mercury intake is 0.4 micrograms per kg of body weight. We believe that over time the FDA will change those guidelines but for now, patients must decide if amalgam fillings are safe for themselves.

Why Do Dentists Use Dental Amalgam So Widely?

Dental amalgam is still widely used all over the world partly due to the fact that it is an inexpensive material and that it does not take as much skill to place this type of restoration as a composite filling.

Risks of Amalgam Fillings:
Mercury Vapor

Research shows that the release of mercury vapor is likely with amalgam fillings. The ingestion of mercury is linked to many health conditions. Some of those conditions are related to oral health. This is one reason many dentists, including our team at NorthStar Dental, avoids using amalgam.

Risks of Amalgam Fillings:
Some Patients Have Metal Sensitivity

A silver dental filling. The risks of amalgam fillings can be significant, especially for those who have metal allergies.

Because dental amalgam is comprised of various metals, it may create a chronic source of metal sensitivity.

Risks of Amalgam Fillings:
Developing cavities under them

Silver dental fillings. The risks of amalgam fillings include harm to your overall health and well-being.

Amalgams are not bonded to the tooth, instead, they are held in place by the shape of the preparation. The tooth is undercut, making the base of the tooth preparation wider than the top. This gives the filling retention so that it doesn’t fall out. Because there is no bond, the edges of the filling corrode over time due to chewing forces, acids from foods and temperature changes in the mouth. This can allow a space between the tooth and filling where bacteria can begin breaking down the tooth and starting another cavity around the edge of the filling. White fillings offer a better seal between the tooth and filling, reducing the incidence of leaking margins.

The Cost of Fillings

Like many dental procedures, it can be difficult to estimate the cost of a filling. However, we’re happy to take a look at your teeth and give you the most accurate estimate possible.

Lincoln Dental Plans

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If you don’t have insurance or don’t know if you can afford a filling, it’s okay! We proudly partner with Lincoln Dental Plans. Lincoln Dental Plans is a dental discount plan that entitles members to numerous discounted services. To learn more about Lincoln Dental Plans, click the link above, to their website.

Dr. Michael Burbach. Dr. Burbach is a dentist at NorthStar Dental in Lincoln, NE.

The information on this page was written by Dr. Michael Burbach.

This gentle Lincoln, NE dentists says: “I am committed to providing my patients with the ultimate in dental health care, by using the latest techniques and equipment that will allow comfort during dental procedures. My team and I at NorthStar Dental are dedicated to providing you with a comfortable and safe environment for both adults and children. My goal as a dentist is to provide you and your family with high quality and gentle dental care so you can have a healthy mouth for a healthy life.”

You can schedule with this Lincoln, NE dentist, or his partners, online 24/7 at his North Lincoln Location of Nebraska Family Dentistry. This “dentist near me” serves the local communities close to NorthStar Dental in Waverly, Davey, Raymond, Garland, Ceresco, Greenwood, and Malcom.

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