Modern patients are increasingly having their amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite fillings because of concerns about mercury. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal, and the risks that mercury amalgam fillings pose are worth considering for all patients. Here is a look at why patients should consider having their amalgam fillings replaced by our Agoura Hills dentist.
How Toxic Is Mercury Amalgam?
Amalgam fillings consist of an alloy containing mercury and a variety of other metals, such as silver, tin and copper. While the amount of mercury involved is small, even a tiny amount of the metal is extremely toxic. In fact, some patients with mercury fillings have reported neurological symptoms, such as fatigue and strange sensations, including burning and tingling.
Is Mercury Leached from Amalgam Fillings?
There is no doubt that amalgam fillings do give off some mercury, but there is controversy over whether it is enough to cause problems. While a number of studies have shown that no significant risk exists with non-damaged amalgam fillings, some experts say that the safety of these restorations is doubtful.
When Is Amalgam Filling Removal Beneficial?
Some patients with amalgam fillings may seek removal after experiencing odd neurological symptoms. In other cases, patients have their older amalgam fillings replaced as a preventive measure against such problems. Mercury fillings that are damaged or concealing decay should be replaced for preservation of oral health if not for avoidance of mercury toxicity. Of course, replacement with tooth-colored fillings also offers benefits beyond elimination of mercury. These benefits include lower risks of tooth breakage, prevention of tooth discoloration and better-looking teeth.
Removal of mercury fillings is beneficial for several reasons, but it should only be performed by a dentist who is experienced at containing the mercury released during the procedure. To learn more about the benefits of safe amalgam removal, patients can schedule a consultation with our dentist.