Dental amalgam is used for repairing cavities which are caused due to tooth decay. It’s nothing new and the dentists have been using it for more than a century. Half of the amalgam is made of mercury and the rest is made of other metals such as silver and tin. The dentists say that amalgam filling is the strongest, cheapest, and longest lasting filling as compared to other options.
However, in the past 20 years, mercury has been identified as an environmental hazard and linked to Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney, and brain damage. The Minamata Convention on Mercury, a treaty agreed by the UN Environmental Program committed itself to reduce mercury use worldwide, including dentistry.
The mercury present in the amalgam fillings release low levels of mercury vapor. The issue is that the vapor is absorbed into the blood stream in the lungs and then taken to the kidneys, brain, liver, and gut. The mercury vapor is associated with harming the kidneys and brain. However, dentistry believes that even if you have many fillings, the vapor you release is too low to cause harm. Yet the WHO states that there’s no safe exposure to mercury.
Some dentists also suggest that amalgam should not be used for a pregnant woman as it can be risky for the fetus. Its use should also be avoided in children, elderly, and medically compromised people. No mainstream dental organization recommends replacing the amalgam filling if they are in good condition and there is no decay beneath them. Drilling the amalgam out will make you lose healthier tooth and the process will expose you to more mercury vapor if it’s not removed following strict guidelines.
Should you get your amalgam fillings removed? It’s the only choice that you can make. If you need to get your fillings replaced because of breakage, decay or other issues, then you must ask the dentist near you to safely remove them in order to reduce your exposure to the mercury.