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The Truth About Mercury Fillings
August 14, 2020
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Replacing Mercury Fillings

Concerns over the safety of old mercury amalgam fillings have increased as many patients focus more on their overall health and well-being. At one point, these silver fillings were your only option if you needed a restoration treatment from tooth decay. However, most dental practices no longer offer amalgam billings, partly due to associated health risks.

Read on to learn the truth about mercury fillings and why you should consider switching out old fillings for tooth-colored composite resin.

What Amalgam Fillings Are Made of

Amalgam fillings are a mixture of copper, silver, tin, and 50% mercury. This type of dentistry filling has been widely used in the past because of the strength and durability the material offers at a low cost.

Why Mercury Fillings Are Controversial

While mercury is considered toxic to our health, research studies have shown that mercury levels from amalgam fillings are not a direct cause of illnesses. Mercury is a chemical element present in water sources, in the air, and in many of the foods we eat, like seafood. Too much contact with this metal may be harmful to your health and lead to symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, memory loss, headaches, and body weakness.

With advancements in technology and materials, modern dental professionals tend to avoid metal fillings. Instead, they prefer to work with more natural and aesthetically-pleasing materials, such as tooth-colored composite resin, which is non-toxic and bio-compatible.

How your Health Can Be Affected

Mercury poisoning is the result of being exposed to too much mercury, either through diet or environmental factors. Mercury is a heavy metal that is highly toxic to humans.

Too much contact with this metal may be harmful to your health and affect the nervous system, leading to neurological symptoms.

Symptoms and Early Warning Signs of Mercury Poisoning

  • nervousness or anxiety
  • irritability or mood changes
  • numbness
  • memory problems
  • depression
  • physical tremors

As the levels of mercury in the body rise, more symptoms will appear. These symptoms may vary depending on a person’s age and exposure levels.

Adults with mercury poisoning may experience symptoms, including:

  • muscle weakness
  • metallic taste in the mouth
  • nausea and vomiting
  • lack of motor skills or feeling uncoordinated
  • inability to feel in the hands, face, or other areas
  • changes in vision, hearing, or speech
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty walking or standing straight

Children with mercury poisoning may show symptoms, including:

  • impaired motor skills
  • problems thinking or problem-solving
  • difficulties learning to speak or understanding language
  • issues with hand-eye coordination
  • being physically unaware of their surroundings

Mercury Filling Alternatives

Composite restorations are the result of modern advancements in dental technology. They have grown to be considered the best method for safely and effectively repairing cavities.

Unlike amalgam, composite fillings:

  • Are 100% non-toxic and contain no mercury
  • Require less removal your healthy tooth structure
  • Can be securely bonded to your tooth’s surface and last for decades
  • Can be quickly and safely repaired or replaced
  • Match the natural color of your teeth so your restoration isn’t visible

Benefits of Having Old Mercury Fillings Replaced

Many patients who decide on having old silver fillings removed value the benefits of eliminating mercury from the body. By removing old mercury fillings, you’re gaining the valuable benefits of:

  • Avoiding potential exposure to being in direct contact with mercury.
  • Reducing the risk of being exposed to mercury vapors from chewing gum or eating hard foods
  • Having peace of mind in knowing your mouth is free of potentially toxic elements
  • Gaining the aesthetic benefits of natural-looking composite fillings
  • Finding immediate relief of any symptoms related to mercury poisoning

If your old metal fillings are worn, cracked, or severe tooth decay is beneath a filling, consider replacing them with non-toxic composite. For more information about mercury’s safety and what you can expect during the replacement process, contact Hinsdale Dentistry today.