Are Your Amalgam Fillings a Health Risk?

Dr. Sanchez Discusses Replacing Dental Fillings.

Dental amalgams, or silver fillings, have been used for over 150 years in dentistry. It is a mix of liquid mercury and a powered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. In July of 2009 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a regulation in which it reclassified the mercury component of dental amalgam from Class 1: low risk to Class 2: moderate risk. Despite this, the agency wrote, “While elemental mercury has been associated with adverse health effects at high exposures, the levels released by dental amalgam fillings are not high enough to cause harm in patients”.

The American Dental Association (ADA) responded to the FDA by saying, “Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively, and has established a record of safety and effectiveness….the scientific evidence supports that amalgam is a valuable, viable, and safe choice for dental patients”.

I have not placed any amalgam fillings in over 10 years. My patients have not requested amalgam to be placed as the filling material. On the contrary, some of them have requested to have the amalgam fillings replaced by composite materials. I, myself, have several amalgam fillings that were placed when I was a child. I have opted not to replace them as they are of moderate to large size. The removal of my amalgam fillings will probably entail having to crown those molars. Therefore, I have opted to change my amalgam fillings on an as needed basis.

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