I have a few amalgam fillings. They’ve never really given me a problem. However, my dentist retired and the new one is “mercury free”. I’ve only seen him twice, but both appointments he’s stressed that he’d like me to replace the fillings because of their mercury content. Is this really necessary?
Drew B. – Indiana
First, I’m going to give you the politically correct answer. The American Dental Association (ADA) still says that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. So, technically, according to the ADA you’re fine just leaving those fillings where they are.
That being said, they really have no idea how safe they are. The studies aren’t addressing how much mercury is being released into your system over your lifetime. Nor does it address if there are daily activities that cause more to be released or at what point mercury begins to create a negative impact on your health.
There have been studies that show eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth can release mercury in older fillings. Unfortunately, most of the studies done use a static model that doesn’t mimic real world conditions.
It’s up to you whether or not you replace them. Most mercury free dentists would prefer them to be replaced. It is up to you. If they’re old, that would increase the amount of mercury being released into your system. In that case, I’d definitely replace them. Just make sure your dentist knows how to do a sanitary amalgam removal.
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