We have been getting more inquires as of late regarding the safety of keeping the Amalgam (aka silver fillings aka mercury) fillings that you may have in your mouth and I wanted to share with you some information that may help you make an informed decision about whether to remove them or not.
The last time I had done an Amalgam (mercury) filling was in dental school (2010). Since Dr. Rashid (aka Dr. Mom) has been in dentistry in Roseville (20+ years), she never advocated the use of Amalgam fillings nor did she place them. Amalgam fillings are an alloy of the following metals: Silver (65%), Tin (29%), Copper (6%), Zinc (2%) and Mercury (3%).
Studies have always shown that Mercury is released from the fillings during chewing/grinding/clenching and can occasionally break off in chunks and can be swallowed. Because Amalgam is a metal, it's response to heat is to expand against the tooth and can potentially create small fractures within the tooth that usually are not detected. Over time, these small cracks can develop into large cracks that can potentially fracture the tooth. Teeth that are sensitive or are painful when biting are always checked to see if they contain amalgam fillings as sensitivity is a common symptom of a fractured tooth. Further, you will also see a bluish tint in your tooth where the fractures are and that is called "leakage", where the particles start to penetrate through the tooth structure.
Here is a photo of what a tooth with an amalgam filling with cracks looks like:
And here is a photo of what that same tooth looks like after removing the amalgam filling (which resulted in more tooth loss because of how far the cracks and cavities extended:
Oftentimes, when we remove amalgam fillings, we may need to replace them with a crown depending on how much damage to the tooth was done. You may not have symptoms of sensitivity or biting pressure but the cracks are slowly getting larger. I always say, "better now than later when there is pain!"
Now that we are in the digital age of things, researchers in Iran have tested the premise that Wifi networks may cause the release of mercury from amalgam fillings. While it is the first research of it's kind to test this out, it does shed light on what we place in our bodies and how it affects our wellbeing. Click here for the article if you would like to read more. If you are interested in watching a video (not in English) of the mercury vapors being released, click here
I hope this helps! Please contact us if you would like more information or have questions!
In Health, Dr. Hana