The Dangers of old Metal Fillings

dangers of metal fillingsMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Do you have metal fillings in your mouth? If so, you likely are not alone. Dental amalgam has been used in restorations such as fillings and crowns for more than a century and a half. This seemingly tried and true method to fill cavities actually may jeopardize your health due to the presence of mercury.

Silver fillings contain up to 50 percent mercury. If you have any of these old silver filings, they can release mercury vapors anytime that you eat, drink, perform oral hygiene or otherwise stimulate your teeth by biting or chewing. These vapors pass through the blood-brain barrier and enter your bloodstream. Chronic exposure to mercury has been linked to psychological, neurological or immunological problems.

Who should not receive amalgam fillings?

Although amalgam or silver fillings are still widely used in traditional dentistry, there are certainly some people who simply should avoid getting silver fillings such as children. Silver fillings could also pose a risk to fetuses for women who are pregnant. However, the health risks increase the longer you have these amalgam fillings inside your teeth, which is why even adults should avoid getting silver fillings or have them replaced with biocompatible composite ones.

Amalgam fillings and the environment

The mercury used in dental restorations also is a major cause of environmental pollution. This occurs because the mercury in wastewater from dental practices enters public water treatment systems. There, it converts into methylmercury, an extremely toxic form of mercury. Methylmercury has been proven to impede the function of the brain as well as the nervous system—particularly among children. Mercury also can cause a general environmental hazard if it leaches into the air, water or soil.

Dental amalgam is still used on a fairly widespread basis, and the American Dental Association and Federal Drug Administration reaffirm their stance that mercury fillings do not pose a threat to patients.

While the FDA and ADA refuse to act, many dental practices operating at the forefront of the field are aware of the potential health and environmental risks involved in using amalgam in dental work. Campaigns to phase out amalgam fillings are underway in many regions of the world—including Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

At Miami Designer Smiles, we believe it is important to protect the overall health of our patients, not just their oral health. Therefore, we have chosen to maintain an amalgam-free dental practice.

If you have an area of tooth decay or want your old silver filling replaced, your Miami cosmetic dentist can install a beautiful composite filling. In addition to being free of amalgam and the health risks related to mercury exposure, these fillings have several other advantages. They are stronger because they are bonded directly to the tooth, and respond to the temperature changes in the mouth in a similar manner as your natural teeth. These composite fillings also can be matched in color and expertly shaped to be indistinguishable from your other natural teeth.

Metal-Free Dentistry in Miami

To learn more about the advantages of amalgam-free dentistry, contact the office of Miami Designer Smiles by calling (305) 595-4616 to schedule a consultation today.

Miami Designer Smiles is proud to serve patients in Miami and Coral Gables, Florida.