Dental amalgam is a typical product used to fill cavities. Fillings made with amalgam also are called silver fillings. For many years, concerns have actually been raised about the use of amalgam due to the fact that it contains mercury. Here are responses to some common concerns about dental amalgam.
Benefits and Side Effects of Amalgam Dental Fillings
What is Amalgam?
Amalgam is a combination of metals that has actually been the most popular and effective filling product used in dentistry for the last 150 years. Although it in some cases is called “silver amalgam,” amalgam actually includes a combination of metals. These include silver, mercury, tin and copper. Small amounts of zinc, indium or palladium also may be used.
Tooth-colored materials now can be used to restore teeth. For that reason, amalgam is used less typically than in the past. However, the newer products can’t be used for all situations. Amalgam is less expensive than other products. It likewise holds up better with time, particularly in teeth that undergo a great deal of pressure and use from chewing.
How Safe is Amalgam?
Countless individuals have amalgam fillings. Issue has been raised over the mercury in amalgam.
Numerous studies on the safety of amalgam fillings have actually been done. In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) examined this research. It discovered no reason to limit using amalgam. The FDA concluded that amalgam fillings are safe for grownups and children ages 6 and above.
Nevertheless, some groups asked the FDA to reconsider. That review is under method.
Why is Mercury Used in Amalgam?
Mercury is used in amalgam because it helps make the filling product flexible. When it is combined with an alloy powder, it develops a compound that is soft enough to blend and push into the tooth. But it likewise solidifies rapidly and can hold up against the forces of biting and chewing.
Why The Concern About Mercury in Amalgam?
Mercury is a metal that takes place naturally in the environment. Mercury can exist as a liquid, as in numerous thermometers. When heated up, it ends up being a gas. It also can be integrated with numerous other materials.
Everybody is exposed to mercury through air, drinking water, soil and food. Concerns have been raised, for example, about the amount of mercury building up in fish as an outcome of pollution. Mercury enters the air from industries that burn mercury-containing fuels. Mercury from all sources can build up in body organs.
Similar to a lot of compounds, the degree of damage caused by mercury in the body is associated with the amount. Really low levels don’t cause any ill impacts. At greater levels – for example, when workers are exposed to mercury through their jobs – mercury can cause several symptoms. These consist of anxiety, irritability, amnesia, headaches and tiredness.
The debate over amalgam centers on how much mercury fillings released and how much the body soaks up. In the past, amalgam fillings were thought to be inert. This would imply that no mercury was released once the filling was placed in the tooth. Recently, sophisticated tests have changed this view. Very percentages of mercury in the form of vapor can be released as the amalgam filling uses.
Research on this issue is complex and has actually reached different quotes of the real quantity of mercury launched. Nevertheless, several reviews of the research have actually concluded that any quantity launched from amalgam in the mouth is very low.
Research studies have shown that the quantity of mercury you are exposed to from your fillings is less than the amount that many people are exposed to in their day-to-day environment or in the food they eat.
Do Some Individuals Have Responses To Amalgam?
In unusual cases, individuals have allergic reactions to the mercury in amalgam. The American Dental Association states that less than 100 cases of this type of allergic reaction have actually ever been reported. Individuals allergic to amalgam can receive other filling materials.
Should Pregnant Women Be Concerned About Amalgam Fillings?
Research has disappointed any health effects from amalgam fillings in pregnant women. Nevertheless, mercury can cross the placenta. In basic, dental practitioners recommend pregnant women to prevent unnecessary dental care. Women should not get amalgam fillings during pregnancy. Dental experts can recommend other products for any pregnant female who needs a cavity filled.
Should Anybody Else Think About Options To Amalgam Fillings?
Concerns about mercury are related to the overall quantity of mercury soaked up from all sources. Therefore, some individuals who have high exposure to mercury might want to prevent amalgam. Examples might include people who are exposed to mercury through their jobs, or who eat big amounts of seafood.
If Amalgam Is Safe, Why Does My Dental Expert Take Precautions When Handling it?
Because dental practitioners work with mercury almost every day, they should take safety preventative measures. Without defense, dental experts can breathe in mercury vapors. Gradually, this exposure can produce symptoms of mercury toxicity.
To make dental amalgam, dental professionals blend liquid mercury with a powder containing silver, tin and other metals. Dental professionals purchase special capsules which contain the powder and the liquid mercury, separated by a membrane. They use unique machinery to pierce the membrane and mix the amalgam while it is still in the capsule. As soon as blending is total, the pill is opened. By the time the amalgam is placed in your tooth, the mercury has actually formed a compound with the other metals. It is no longer hazardous.
If you are getting an amalgam filling or having one eliminated, your dental professional will use high-powered suction to get rid of any excess amalgam from your mouth. Dental experts’ workplaces have unique disposal systems for any extra amalgam. Special traps in the sink drains and in the suction tubes prevent amalgam from going into the plumbing system.
Any Other Options To Amalgam?
There is now a dental amalgam which contains indium as well as mercury. The indium helps retain the mercury so that less is launched into the environment. There are also high-copper amalgams. They contain less mercury and more copper.
Dental experts use other products to bring back teeth. These consist of composite resin, porcelain and gold. Amalgam is stronger than composite resin and requires less time in the dental expert’s chair. Composite resin is a tooth-colored product. Due to the fact that it uses faster than amalgam, composite resin can’t be used in every situation.
Should I Go To An Amalgam-Free Practice?
It is not essential to seek treatment at a practice that does not use mercury. Nevertheless, if you have a mercury allergy, you may want to consider it. If you have any concerns about amalgam fillings, talk with your dental professional about them. Ask your dentist whether alternatives to amalgam would work for you.
Amalgam Filling Removal
You ought to replace amalgam fillings only when they are worn, broken or when there is decay underneath the filling. There’s no evidence that they can cause an issue.
Getting rid of excellent amalgam fillings results in unneeded loss of healthy parts of the tooth and can release more mercury. If you are concerned about amalgam, discuss your choices with your dentist.