Are Silver Fillings Safe?

Silver fillings or dental amalgam have been used to fill cavities for more than a hundred years. What exactly is a dental amalgam or silver filling? Well, dental amalgam is a putty-like metallic substance made of powdered silver, tin and copper. Liquid mercury is mixed in with the powdered metal to construct the amalgam. Sometimes, zinc and indium are added to the mix.

Because silver fillings have mercury, some people may be reluctant to have them in their teeth. So just how safe is dental amalgam?

Does the mercury in silver fillings get into the rest of the body?

Mercury occurs naturally in nature and is absorbed into the body through water, air, soil, and food. In very low amounts, mercury poses no health risk. That said, exposure to high levels of mercury is dangerous for the body. In extreme cases, mercury poisoning can happen.

The mercury in dental amalgam was long thought to be inert, meaning that none of it found its way into the rest of the body. This was not the case. Improved methods of testing found that minuscule amounts of mercury vapor escape into the body as the filling wears away.

Why would anyone agree to get silver fillings?

Because the amount of mercury released by dental amalgam is much, much less than the levels of mercury people are exposed to every day. Air and food (especially seafood) expose people to more mercury than silver fillings ever could. Dental amalgam makes tooth fillings that last much longer than composite resin and other tooth-colored alternatives. Silver fillings withstand the stress of chewing much better than resin fillings.

After extensive testing and trials, the World Health Organization, F.D.A, and the American Dental Association all state that dental amalgam is safe.

Who should avoid dental amalgam?

  • •People allergic to mercury could go into anaphylactic shock if exposed to amalgam.
  • •Pregnant women are also advised to avoid dental procedures, especially those that require silver fillings. The reason for this is to prevent minute amounts of mercury from finding their way into the bloodstream of the unborn baby.
  • •People who are constantly exposed to mercury at work should not get silver fillings. Even dentists sometimes opt to restore their teeth with resin fillings because they handle mercury all the time.
  • •Silver fillings can be used to fix the teeth of anyone over the age of six.

New improvements make silver fillings even safer

Nowadays, indium is added to amalgam to make the mercury even more inert. It works by ensuring only the tiniest amount of mercury is released from the filling. Also, the amount of mercury in dental amalgam is often reduced and replaced with copper.

That said, silver fillings are not a good look for front teeth. Silver fillings are great for molars, but porcelain and composite resin are better alternatives for the front teeth. The priority for front teeth is always aesthetics, so the issue of safety and amalgam should not even come up.

With a few exceptions, silver fillings are very safe. They have been in use for 150 years with great success. If you want a filling that will serve you for a long time, then a silver filling is what you want.

Visit one of our clinics and have your cavities restored with fillings.

Are you considering silver fillings in the Santa Barbara area? Get more information at https://www.erikwinndds.com. Or call us at (805)920-2133.

Recent Posts

Dental Onlays Vs. Dental Inlays

Often, people run into decay or erosion on their teeth and may wonder what the best method of treatment is. There are so many dental procedures that exist today in order to restore parts of the teeth. Today, we will go over the difference between a dental onlay and a dental inlay. Both of these…

What Types Of Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments Are Available In The Santa Barbara Area?

When someone wants to improve the appearance of a smile, cosmetic dentistry is a popular choice. Unlike general dentistry, cosmetic changes are not required for good oral health. Patients typically choose this method for aesthetic reasons only.Depending on the condition of the teeth and gums, there are a variety of options for improving their appearance.One…

5 Tips For Choosing A Cosmetic Dentist

No one likes going to the dentist, but if you want to improve your smile, there is no way to avoid a trip. Cosmetic dental procedures have gained popularity in recent years, and as such more and more people are flocking to their local cosmetic dentist to improve their smile.People have numerous choices when it…

Dental Implant Restoration Options For Missing Teeth [Cosmetic Dentistry]

When a person has missing teeth, it is likely that they will begin to consider their replacement options, such as a dental implant restoration. Implant dentistry has become more and more popular for patients in need of restorative care.If you are considering different dental implant restoration options, then you may find the following information to…


Recent Posts

Dental Implant Restoration Options For Missing Teeth [Cosmetic Dentistry]

Dental Implant Restoration Options For Missing Teeth [Cosmetic Dentistry]

When a person has missing teeth, it is likely that they will begin to consider their replacement options, such as a dental implant restoration. Implant dentistry has become more and more popular for patients in need of restorative care.If you are considering different dental implant restoration options, then you may find the following information to…

All On  : Can I Replace Multiple Missing Teeth?

All-on-4: Can I Replace Multiple Missing Teeth?

Anyone researching tooth replacement is probably going to come across the term All-on-4. However, most people may not know what this procedure is or what it can mean for them. For those who have multiple teeth missing or are going to have a procedure to remove multiple teeth, understanding the options is important. As you…