Grey Amalgam Fillings

Question:

Dear Jeff,

I am worried about my grey amalgam fillings. I hear that they may cause health problems and am thinking of having them replaced. Is this a good idea?

– Marcia J. 53, Jimboomba

Answer:

Dental amalgam is the most commonly used material for restorations in the world. The origins of which date back to the 1500’s in China. Today, there are many concerns regarding the use of dental amalgam in teeth. Claims have been made that the mercury in the amalgam impairs renal and liver functions, the immune system, and many other areas of the body.

To date, there is no known statistical difference in the health status of persons with amalgam fillings compared to those with no fillings in their teeth! This has been shown to be the case in numerous controlled studies.

It has been well established that mercury from dental amalgams that has been ingested into the stomach is poorly absorbed through the digestive system and is not an important factor in raising the serum mercury level. The vast majority of elemental mercury that shows up in the bloodstream is from mercury vapor which is absorbed through the lungs. The amount of mercury actually absorbed via both routes is so small that it has no practical toxic effect on the human body.

Studies show that the average daily intake of mercury from ordinary food and water is between 4 and 15 times the amount that is ingested due to the presence of a mouthful of dental amalgam restorations.

This viewpoint has been supported by the Australian Dental Association, the World Health Organisation, the Centre for Disease Control amongst others.

I am not against removal of amalgam restorations when they are cracked, broken or for cosmetic purposes. However, to remove these fillings for possible purposes is not substantiated.

Advances in dental technology today means that there are many alternatives to dental amalgams: composite (tooth coloured) fillings, porcelain, and gold are all commonly used instead of silver amalgams.

It is always best to schedule an appointment with your dental professional for a consultation for a proper diagnosis.

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