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Is dental amalgam (tooth cavity filling with mercury) really safe?


Posted on : 28/Jul/2017 18:52:46

It is worth knowing the different types of tooth cavity filling and what are the materials used and also how to maintain after the tooth fill. Silver, Mercury, Gold, Platinum are the metals used for the cavity filling.

Most cavity fillings are in the same colour as teeth. Sometimes, metals are used for the cavity filling. For example, silver amalgam is a cavity filling material containing the ingredients of mercury, silver, copper, lead and zinc.

In another cavity filler known as ‘composite resin’, matrix filler, coupling agent, initiators, accelerators, and pigments are used.

In gold cavity fills, gold, palladium, platinum, lead, and indium are used.

In a cavity filler known as Glass Ionomer, aqueous poly-alkenoic acid and fluoro-silicates.

Out of the above, composite resin, glass Ionomer, and ceramics are of the same colour as teeth.

Silver amalgam, gold fillings, noble metal alloys, are of metallic hues.

Most people prefer gold fillings as they are harmless to the body, and create no itchy feelings, and has a property to kill germs/bacteria.

Dangers of mercury

Gold fillings are quite costly. So, many prefer to select the silver amalgam variety.

It is worth noting that mercury is a liquid metal and chemical which can harm the nervous system and kidneys. In the case of excess, it can lead to a lot of serious health problems. It is harmful even to smell mercury. In case through precautionary care is taken by the manufacturers of cavity fillings  the mercury fillings will be harmless.

One point to note is that mercury is not directly used while making the cavity fillings. Generally, it is fixed with other materials like silver, and other metals. The dentists make this mixture either by hand or using a machine. There are some restrictions/limits regarding the use of mercury. The dentists need to follow that strictly while making the cavity fillings. This mixture will then be filled in the damaged teeth and fitted.

There are possibilities of harms created by mercury fillings – such as damage to the nervous system, fatigue, loss of weight, indigestion, and similar long-term complaints and also vomiting, tottering, and breathing problems, and other short-term complaints and some severe complaints such as diarrhoea, sneezing/cough, etc.

Maintenance of cavity filling

Just as the natural teeth get damaged with increasing age, the cavity fillings also tend to damage with age. Proper extent of filling has to be used after accurately assessing the state of the damaged teeth. This will ensure a long life of the filling. There would not be any need for repeated filling exercises.

When properly maintained, the cavity filling will work for 5 to 10 years. However, it must be recorded that gold fillings outlive any other type.

The persons with cavity fillings must keep the schedule of visiting the dentist once every 6 months. They have to wash their teeth twice a day. Good quality paste and toothbrush must be used. One will have to gargle properly after every eating session. It is the best to take fibre-rich food items, fruits, and vegetables.