Most of us were drafted into the ranks of the American majority whose cavities were filled with silver, aka Amalgam. The tooth was prepared by drilling holes then filled with a mushy gray material which then hardened. Amalgam, used for it’s strength and durability, was the most routinely used material to restore decaying teeth. Seems friendly enough….right?

Did you know that the major component of a silver filling is NOT silver at all? It is in fact Mercury with a blend of silver, tin, copper, and zinc. Imagine having that volatile substance in your mouth for years and years! It expands in warmer temperatures and contracts in cold. Every time you enjoy a refreshing cold drink, your silver fillings contract and every time you bask in a piping hot cup of coffee, your fillings expands. So what does that do to the tooth that encompasses the filling? It weakens the tooth- thereby setting it up for additional decay, fracture, corrosion, and breakage. Not so friendly at all.

Scrap amalgam, the material left over after filling a tooth, under American Dental Association (ADA) procedural recommendations is handled much like nuclear waste. For example, one should not touch it. It should be stored under water in a sealed container. There are regulations for its disposal. Yet this same material is being placed in our mouths. Mercury, in its unbound state, is one of the most deadly poisons known to man. It can cause a variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Many of these symptoms are non specific therefore could easily be misdiagnosed as having resulted from other environmental contaminants or medical conditions. Is the only safe place to store amalgam in the teeth of human beings? Not likely.

When using amalgam for fillings, perfectly healthy portions of the tooth structure must be removed in order to wedge the material into the tooth to secure it. This compromises the structure of the tooth invariably leading to larger fillings, a cracked tooth, root canals then eventually crowns.

Advanced dental practice is to preserve as much of the healthy tooth as possible, fill the tooth early with biocompatible material, and reinforce the tooth to prevent future problems. There was a time when dentists hesitated to replace an amalgam filling with composite resin, for fear they would not last as long. We now know that amalgams have a lower wear resistance than correctly placed composite resign fillings.

In a nut shell, amalgam fillings can be hazardous to our health. Amalgam darkens the tooth it is placed in….giving the tooth an aged gray appearance. Amalgam has a lower wear resistance than correctly placed composite resin fillings. Amalgam causes the tooth to crack and break from expanding and contracting. Amalgam is a treatment compromise! Maybe it’s time to have your amalgam fillings removed?

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