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Are Silver Fillings Bad for Your Health?

Are mercury fillings dangerous?

You or someone you know may have an amalgam filling – that is, a filling made of metals like mercury, copper, silver, and tin.

Amalgam fillings have a lot of benefits: they’re strong enough for teeth that see a lot of daily use, like molars, and they’re one of the most affordable ways to fill a cavity. But they’re also controversial.

What are the risks of mercury fillings?

Like most things, there are pros and cons to silver fillings.

According to the Canadian Dental Association, small amounts of mercury are released from the filling when you chew. This is nothing to worry about since they have been used by hundreds of millions of people for more than 150 years and are widely-regarded as safe.

With that being said, the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) says that while exposure to mercury from these fillings may not lead to adverse health effects, it may pose a higher risk in certain groups of people, including:

  • Pregnant women and their fetuses
  • Women who are planning to become pregnant
  • Nursing women
  • Children, especially those younger than six
  • People with pre-existing neurological disease
  • People with impaired kidney function
  • People with known allergies to mercury or the other components

If you fall into any of those categories, speak to your dentist about the best course of action. There may be more appropriate and safer alternatives for you.

What are some alternatives to silver fillings?

If you’ve been taking in this information and you’re feeling conflicted, don’t worry. Just because mercury fillings may not be right for you doesn’t mean that there aren’t other options.

Composite fillings

These fillings are made from composite plastic, and thanks to technological and material advances over time, they can be placed almost anywhere in your mouth. Their white colour gives them a more natural appearance than metal fillings. Another benefit of this option is that they can be done in one visit. Your dentist will place it in layers and between each layer, they will harden the material with a special light. Once the filling is placed, your dentist will shape it to make sure it looks and feels natural.

Ceramic fillings

Sometimes referred to as inlays or onlays, these fillings are made of advanced ceramic materials, like those used for veneers and crowns. They are the most attractive and are highly durable. They can be used for large cavities and can add strength to damaged teeth.

Can I get my metal fillings replaced?

If you’re unhappy with your metal amalgam fillings because of the way they look, feel or taste, Dr. Andrea Stevens and her team can upgrade them with tooth-coloured alternatives. Book an appointment today to get a natural looking smile.

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