If you've ever needed dental work on a budget, chances are you've received silver fillings before. Silver fillings are generally a more affordable option than resin or porcelain fillings, but they're also problematic for their users. Silver fillings can potentially be dangerous, and once you're no longer in a financial bind, replacing them is a good idea. Read on to learn why silver fillings can be a problem and what you can do about it.
Why They Can Be Dangerous
Silver amalgam fillings, as their name implies, do contain silver. This is what gives them their general metallic appearance, and helps to keep them strong. However, silver is not the only substance that makes up a silver amalgam filling. Silver amalgam fillings also contain mercury, a known neurotoxin.
Silver amalgam fillings are used less often these days due to their mercury content. Although amalgam fillings should initially not pose any hazard, over time, the fillings can potentially break down due to standard wear and tear. At this point, the mercury could potentially become dangerous.
If silver amalgam fillings are broken down, mercury can escape in the form of vapor. These vapors can either be absorbed into the body via the blood or inhaled into the lungs. Studies have shown that only a small amount of mercury is released in the form of vapor, but it's understandable if you're concerned about it. There's nothing wrong with wanting to have your silver amalgam fillings replaced to avoid having mercury enter your body, especially since as a heavy metal, removing mercury from the body is extremely difficult.
Your dentist will take special precautions to prevent more mercury from escaping in the form of vapor while your fillings are being removed. You may need to be given a supply of oxygen during the process to prevent you from inhaling any of the mercury. In addition, your dentist will employ the best hazmat techniques in order to protect you and him from mercury exposure.
Once your filling is removed, your dentist will carefully clean the area of your teeth where the filling was to ensure that no trace amounts remain. Then, he will replace the filling with a new resin or porcelain filling, which is completely safe and contains no mercury.
It's still unclear whether or not mercury found in silver amalgam dental fillings can pose any serious risk to humans. However, if it makes you uncomfortable, or you regularly consume foods that contain mercury like fish, it might be a good idea to have them replaced with something new. At the very least, consider visiting your dentist to have your fillings examined to make sure that they're still in good condition and safe. To learn more, visit a website like http://www.childrensdent.com.