Dental amalgam fillings have been used to repair teeth damaged by decay since the early 1800’s. They are made from a silver-tin alloy mixed with mercury to form an ‘amalgam’. This is placed in the tooth and over a few hours sets to repair the damage caused by decay.
They can crack teeth after being in place for several years. They then have expanded sufficiently under bite loading to crack teeth. Frequently the fillings also fracture and fall out.
Below is a picture of a Molar tooth with a vertical fracture. It required extraction.
Amalgam fillings look dark and unattractive. They begin to leak at the worn edges and decay is often found alongside or beneath old fillings. If the decay is alongside the filling even check-up X-rays may not show the decay clearly.
Amalgam fillings give off Mercury vapour and this is increased with hot drinks and chewing. This vapour is invisble to the naked eye but can be measured using a Mercury Vapour Analyser. While there is very little evidence to show what harm low levels of vapour may do to the body, Mercury itself is considered a poison and is now banned in many countries in things like Thermometers.
In the UK Dental amalgam is classified as hazardous waste and includes amalgam in any form and materials contaminated with amalgam. Dental Clinics have to have special equipment called Amalgam Separators to collect waste Amalgam and prevent it entering the environment. It is difficult to see how Amalgam can be considered safe in your mouth but everywhere else it is considered as Hazardous waste!
Will my health be improved if they are removed?
• Certainly your dental health will improve with much lessened risk of tooth fracture, pain and possible tooth loss associated with this.
• Your teeth will have restored cosmetics with the proper shape and colour.
• The potential mercury harm will be removed.