Dental Safety – Are Silver Amalgam Fillings a Safe Choice?
The mercury content in silver amalgam fillings often raises concerns about dental safety. It is important to know however, that these dental filling materials are monitored by the FDA which has given the green light for their use.
What is a dental amalgam?
A dental amalgam is a dental filling material used to fill cavities. It is a mixture of metals, including liquid mercury (about 50%) and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. The FDA tells us that it has been used for more than 150 years in hundreds of millions of patients. Some individuals, however, are allergic to this filling material. Your dentist can determine the best material for your dental fillings.
The benefits of choosing an amalgam filling:
- They are the least expensive type of dental filling materials.
- They are strong and long-lasting with less chances of breaking as compared to other filling materials.
- Metallic appearance can be a cause for concern.
- Some individuals report a metallic taste in the mouth.
FDA findings about amalgams and dental safety:
Based on a review of the best scientific evidence available, this is what the FDA concludes:
- The amount of mercury in dental fillings is well below levels associated with adverse health effects.
- Even in adults and children ages 6 and above who have 15 or more amalgam surfaces, mercury exposure due to dental amalgam fillings has been found to be far below the lowest levels associated with harm.
- Clinical studies in adults and children ages 6 and above have also found no link between dental amalgam fillings and health problems.
- Infants are not at risk for adverse health effects from the breast milk of women exposed to mercury vapor from dental amalgam.
Watch this video to learn more about amalgams and dental safety.
If you have concerns about the safety of dental amalgams, talk to your dentist. There are many different types of fillings such as gold, porcelain and composite resin for you to choose from. Your dentist will help you decide what is best for you.