We often read in newspapers and hear dentists telling us about the dangers of mercury fillings. In fact, many dental practices in the UK have either completely stopped using mercury-based fillings or used them sparingly. So, what is so dangerous and harmful about silver-mercury fillings? Are they really harmful to our health? If you are also searching for ansewrs to these questions, you have come to the right place. So, continue reading to learn everything you need to know about mercury fillings and their safety.
Why Are Dentists Still Using Mercury In Fillings?
If we search the internet for the restorative services offered by various dental practices in the UK, we will find that some dentists continue to use amalgam fillings. The reason is that mercury fillings are still not completely banned in the UK. According to the British Dental Association, as of July 1, 2018, the use of mercury has been completely prohibited in the following patient groups:
- Children below 15 years of age
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women
For other patients, the BDA advises dentists to use silver-amalgam fillings with caution while considering their overall health status.
How Difficult Is It To Have Mercury Dental Fillings Removed?
The procedure for removing silver-amalgam fillings from the oral cavity is straightforward. However, dentists have to use high-quality suction while removing the fillings to ensure that the mercury vapour or particles are not inhaled or ingested as they may prove harmful. Otherwise, the procedure involves using a dental handpiece to remove the amalgam fillings in increments and then replacing them with the safer and more aesthetically-pleasing composite fillings.
Is Removing Dental Amalgam Fillings Safer Than Leaving Them In?
If your amalgam-restored teeth are in a healthy condition, it is not advisable to have your silver-amalgam fillings removed. This is because removing amalgam fillings may expose you to more mercury vapours or particles than if they are left behind. Besides, more natural tooth structure is lost during amalgam removal and the placement of a replacement filling. So, if amalgam fillings are not causing any problem, you should not have them removed.
Who’s The Best Dentist For Amalgam Filling Removal In London?
If you are thinking of having your amalgam fillings removed, it is best to visit a holistic dentist or one who has sufficient experience in amalgam filling removal. This is because these dentists will have the necessary expertise and equipment to safely remove the amalgam fillings from your mouth while ensuring that you or the dental staff do not inhale the mercury vapour.
Why Is Mercury In Dental Amalgams Safe?
The EU regulation on dental amalgam considers silver-amalgam fillings to be safe for use in the oral cavity. The reason is that the amount of mercury released from dental fillings is not sufficient to cause any untoward reaction, especially if an encapsulated form of dental amalgams is used and mixing is done mechanically instead of hand mixing. So, amalgam fillings are largely considered safe for clinical oral use.
Are Mercury Dental Fillings Dangerous?
The BDA, in accordance with EU regulations on mercury use, recognises amalgam fillings as largely being safe for dental restorations. However, instead of a complete ban on mercury fillings, the BDA believes in gradual phasing out their use by 2030 on environmental safety grounds. So, there is no harm in getting amalgam fillings in the UK if you are concerned about their unaesthetic metallic appearance.
Should I Remove My Amalgam Fillings?
As discussed earlier, having your amalgam fillings removed may not be a good idea if they aren’t causing any problems. This is because the removal process of amalgam fillings generates mercury vapours that can be inhaled or ingested, and any result has adverse health effects. So, having your mercury fillings removed may do more harm than good. However, mercury filling removal may be considered if you are not satisfied with their aesthetics and would like to have them replaced with tooth-coloured fillings.
Why Don’t Dentists Make A Silver Filling That Has No Mercury?
Mercury is a metal that remains liquid at room temperature, which makes it easy to be mixed with other metal alloys. Secondly, when mixed with suitable metal alloys, the mixture hardens over time into a robust filling that can withstand very heavy biting pressures. In fact, properly placed mercury fillings can last more than 4 decades! Previously, attempts were made to use gallium, another liquid metal considered safer to mercurry, but the results were not encouraging. So, mercury is the ideal metal for mixing with metal alloys.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Amalgam Fillings?
Compared to the contemporary, tooth-coloured, resin-based fillings, dental mercury filings have certain drawbacks, such as:
- Aesthetics – mercury fillings have a distinct metallic appearance which is not liked by many patients
- Sacrificing Healthy Tooth Structure – the placement of mercury fillings requires removal of significan amounts of natural tooth structure, which goes against the current practice of minimally-invasive dentistry.
- Safety Concerns – some experts have raised safety concerns regarding the use of mercury in these fillings.
If you would like to know more about mercury fillings or whether you should have your mercury fillings removed, we are at your service! Whether you need dental fillings or braces for your kids, we provide all dental services in comfortable and relaxing environment at affordable rates. So, contact us today and take your first step towards a healthy and lasting smile. The health, safety, and satisfaction of our esteemed patients is our top priority.