Most patients over the age of 25 who have silver fillings in their mouths have some that are made of a metal alloy known as amalgam. These range from dark gray to silver in color.
There is a good bit of conversation about these silver fillings in the popular media due to the fact that one of the metals used in this alloy is mercury. We all know of the toxicity of mercury, and it is certainly reasonable to question the safety of this material.
There are some who make claims that the mercury in these fillings is causing problems that include degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and auto immune disorders like MS and Lupus.
However, the research on the subject does not substantiate such theories. In fact, The FDI World Dental Federation and the World Health Organization stated in 1997 that “No controlled studies have been published demonstrating systemic adverse effects from amalgam restorations.”
Although we no longer use amalgam in our office, it is primarily because patients ask for natural looking restorations that are tooth-colored. There are materials to choose from today that not only perform well, but also look quite beautiful. When it comes to replacing silver fillings we recommend using the same criteria used to evaluate the usefulness of restorations made of any other material.
We have some patients who have chosen to remove their amalgam restorations for personal reasons. We are sensitive to their desires and are willing do do so on request.
For those interested in knowing more about silver fillings, I recommend the American Dental Association’s Statement on Dental Amalgam. There is a link contained in the article to an exhaustive literature review on the subject.
If you have questions about silver fillings please don’t hesitate to ask someone on our team. We’d be glad to help.