ARE SILVER FILLINGS SAFE?
Silver fillings, commonly known as dental amalgams in our dental world, were the chosen material used on teeth because of its performance under chewing or biting, durability, longevity, cost and ease of placement. The American Dental Association (ADA) states "Dental amalgam has been used by dentists for more than a century and is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use today."
But what exactly is IN the dental amalgam?
Dental amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining mercury, silver, tin and copper in careful proportions mixed in a precise blend so there is no free or excess mercury. The ADA states "there is no 'free' mercury that can enter the blood circulation where it could cause damage to the nervous system--the biggest concern."
Further, the National Institute of Health, the US Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the World Health OrganIzation all agree that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective material.
Some disadvantages of dental amalgam include: its silver appearance which is unacceptable aesthetically for front teeth, possible short term sensitivity to hot and cold, and amalgam fillings my also require more tooth structure removal to keep them in place.
Alternatives to Amalgam
Composite resin fillings are a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium that produces a tooth-colored filling. Also known as composite or filled resins, they match teeth, transmit light well and are hardly visible in the tooth. They hold up just as well as amalgams and can be physically bonded to the tooth allowing less need to remove tooth structure.