I thought the United States agreed to phase out mercury fillings when they signed the Minamata Convention Agreement, yet there are still thousands of dentists using amalgam fillings all over the country 5 years later. Can we demand our dentist (and more helpful financially our insurance) stop using them because of the agreement?
First, you’re right that there has been very little evidence the United States followed through with the agreement signed. However, the Minamata Convention agreement wasn’t about the fillings themselves. There’s no agreement to ban those or phase them out.
The agreement was based on a village in Japan that was absolutely devastated by mercury poisoning in the water. 900 people died as a result and more than double that became ill. There’s no record of the cognitive impact but I’m sure it’s much higher.
What the agreement actually deals with is the disposal of mercury to keep it from polluting the environment and therefore people. Every dentist should be aware of the agreement because the main ingredient in amalgam (silver) fillings is mercury. Whether or not they’re following the recommendations is hard to tell. But, most dentists will be environmentally conscious.
If You Want Mercury-free Fillings
While you’re right that there are many dentists still using amalgam fillings, there are also an increasing number of mercury-free dentists. They’ll be happy to give you composite fillings. In fact, in many cases it’s all they offer.
If you happen to have some leftover amalgam fillings you want to rid yourself of, most mercury-free dentists know how to do sanitary amalgam removals. That allows you to safely switch out your fillings for healthier options without worrying about inhaling the mercury vapors.
White Fillings and White Teeth
When you have white fillings, you want your dentist to match them to your teeth, especially if you have any visible fillings. They can. However, you need to be aware that once the fillings are made the color can’t be changed. So, if you’ve considered whitening your teeth at some future time, you may want to do it before you get your filings switched out.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Duane Delaune.