Many of my patients ask about the risks of Metal aka Amalgam and Mercury Fillings. Are the fillings Safe? Should I have them removed? Am I being exposed or poisoned by the Mercury in the Metal Fillings that are in my mouth? Will the Metal and Amalgam fillings make me sick? What is the best material to replace metal and Amalgam Fillings? I spend hours a day discussing all the above questions with my patients. So lets start from the top..
1) Are Metal, Mercury, Amalgam Fillings safe? No. Amalgam Fillings contain approximately 50% mercury and Mercury is one of the most poisonous materials on planet earth. Years ago, if a thermometer broke and there was a mercury spill in a public building, the building was evacuated and a hazmat team was dispatched to clean up the dangerous, toxic mess. So tell me how it is ok to have mercury in your mouth and placed in contact with living tissue permanently?
Yes, but the Amalgam Fillings need to be removed safely using the proper equipment to insure your and my safety. I do not want to make you sick, but think about how bad removing this material is for me? I remove this poisonous stuff everyday. We also need to have a plan to replace the Mercury Fillings with another material.
Am I being exposed or poisoned by the Mercury in the Metal Fillings in my mouth?
Yes you are being exposed, but you may or may not be sick or get sick depending on the conditions in your mouth and your genetics. The truth is that every time you eat, or perform any function on your teeth where your Mercury Fillings are touched, you are exposed to mercury. In fact, if you clench your teeth and you have Mercury Fillings you have an even higher exposure to the Mercury in the Metal Fillings due to the increased clenching or grinding on the mercury surfaces of your teeth.
Will the Metal and Amalgam Fillings make me sick?
Whether you get sick or not depends on the amount of Mercury you are exposed to and your genetics. Some people have genes where they are more tolerant to mercury and other metal exposures. Others are more sensitive and can get quite sick even to very small exposures.
What is the best material to replace Metal and Amalgam Fillings?
Once the amalgam with Mercury is removed from your teeth, we evaluate the tooth for decay and cracks. Any external cracks need to be supported or removed and all soft rotten tooth structure needs to be also removed. Your tooth is then treated with oxygen and ozone to be sure the tooth is free of bacteria and to promote healing. At this point your tooth is ready to be filled or rebuilt. A BPA free composite or tooth colored filling can be placed as long as there is more than 50% of your tooth structure remaining. If the tooth is more broken down and more than 50% of the tooth is missing than your tooth lacks the structural integrity to support another filling and it needs to be rebuilt with a tooth colored, metal-free porcelain or a porcelain-like tooth colored material called zirconia. It is very important to place crowns when more than 50% of the structure is missing. Teeth that are over filled will not hold up to the forces of chewing and the tooth will break and more aggressive treatment such as a root canal or an extraction may be consequently necessary.