Is Amalgam Filling Safe For You?

May 15, 2024
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Dental amalgam is a dental filling material used to fill cavities caused due to tooth decay. It is a mixture of liquid metal and powdered alloy. Approximately half of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight. The chemical properties of elemental mercury allows it to react and bind together.

Dental amalgam fillings are often referred to as silver fillings because of their appearance. If your dentist has recommended a dental amalgam, the dentist first drills the tooth to remove decay and shapes the tooth cavity for the placement of the filling.

Under appropriate safety conditions, the dentist mixes the formula with liquid mercury to form an amalgam putty. This is placed and shaped in a prepared cavity hole. This is where the filling rapidly hardens into a solid filling.

Benefits of Dental Amalgam

Deciding on a dental filling material to treat decay is a choice that is also a collaborative effort of the dentist and client. Your dentist is likely to assess your dental health and current conditions to determine the best material. This also depends on financial budget and personal preferences. Let us discuss the benefits of dental amalgam.

  • They are strong and long lasting.
  • They are durable and less likely to break.
  • Useful in patients who are at high risk of tooth decay.
  • Least expensive type of filling material.

Potential Risks Of Dental Amalgam Fillings

While it is a durable and strong material that can generally last you up to a lifetime. In this section, we will discuss the potential risks of dental amalgam fillings.

  • As it contains elemental mercury, it also releases low levels of mercury in the form of vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by the lungs. Exposure to mercury can have adverse effects on your health in the long run.
  • Mercury vapors can also have neurotoxic effects in children in developing stages. Pregnant women or children under the age of six or on breastfeed are at high risk.

Who Should Not Get Amalgam Fillings

While we now have multiple other materials for dental fillings which are safe such as composite and resin, amalgams should be kept as a last choice. They are not generally safe given the mercury component included. Here is a list of people who may be more susceptible to adverse effects associated with mercury.

  • Pregnant women and developing features
  • Who are planning to become pregnant
  • Nursing women
  • Children in their developmental ages
  • Pre-existing neurological diseases
  • Heightened sensitivity to mercury or metals

Alternatives to Amalgam Fillings

Dental decay is a highly vulnerable condition which must be taken care of immediately. Cavities are likely to spread onto other teeth and add to tooth sensitivity and loss.

If you would like to explore alternatives to amalgam fillings, it is important to talk to your dentist first.

They might channel the right expertise and knowledge about other materials such as composite resin, porcelain, metal or gold to restore the health of your teeth. While some have visually appealing features, others can be a highly durable option.

Weigh the pros and cons in order to decide the right filling material for you!

Final Words

Dental fillings are a preliminary form of treatment used to treat a vulnerable tooth or teeth. Cavities must be taken care of as soon as they arise – as they can put your tooth health and structure in danger.

There are multiple types of dental filling materials options available today. It is suggested to steer away from amalgam if you are given a choice.

Talk to healthcare professionals for dental fillings at Spring Cypress Dental for safe and reliable treatment and hands on expertise. Call us at (281) 256-3222.

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