Silver fillings have gotten a bad rap over the years. Typical rumors have it that silver amalgams' mercury content is connected to a host of health problems. Before choosing a less durable dental restoration material or rushing in to have your amalgams removed, do your teeth a favor: review the facts. Dental care experts, including the American Dental Associations, find silver amalgams to be an affordable, safe, and durable filling choice
Over the past 10 years, there's been talk of the possibility that intense chewing pressure might cause silver fillings to leak mercury vapors into the body. While an amalgam alloy contains approximately 43 to 54 percent of elemental liquid mercury, no proof supports the theory that mercury can leak or leach out of a filling. In fact, after more than 100 years of use and 10 years of extensive study and review by the FDA and US Public Health Service (USPHS), no scientific evidence shows that silver fillings cause health detriments, except in rare cases of allergy or hypersensitivity.
Constant pounding and intense chewing pressure on biting surfaces can actually change an amalgam's shape, while the underlying tooth structure remains constant. This could cause cracks in the filling, cracks in the tooth, and invite bacterial invasion. However, should your dentist observe any danger of cracking, he can safely and successfully replace your fillings before they create a problem. On the other hand, composite resins are less durable than amalgams and often require earlier replacement.
The ADA deems amalgam fillings safe and sound, but your body is your responsibility, and you should know all the facts before making medical or dental decisions. For more information on dental amalgams and materials used in dental fillings, visit www.ada.org.