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Dental Amalgam Fillings Are Safe
Amalgam is a silver-colored powder composed of silver, copper, zinc, and other metals bound together with mercury.
An article that appeared in the April 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported two recent independent studies that concluded children with dental amalgam fillings do not experience adverse effects related to neurobehavioral, neuropsychological (IQ), and kidney function.
These studies reinforce the long-standing position of the American Dental Association of the safety of dental amalgam.
The strength of the evidence is particularly impressive; two large groups of geographically distinct groups of children were studied and each study reached similar conclusions about the safety of amalgam.
Amalgam is a silver-colored powder composed of silver, copper, zinc, and other metals bound together with mercury. Silver amalgam has been used by dentists worldwide to restore decayed teeth for over 150 years. It is estimated that 70 million teeth are treated with amalgam fillings in the United States alone every year.
But what about the mercury?
Mercury alone is toxic in sizable doses-for instance, when eating substantial quantities of mercury-contaminated fish, such as tuna, swordfish, shark, and tilefish. The majority of mercury in the environment is caused by volcanic eruptions, the burning of fossil fuels (coal), early gold mining techniques that used mercury to extract ore during the Gold Rush, mercury containing batteries, and various measuring devices. Mercury enters the food chain because mercury goes from a liquid state to a gas without a solid state. The mercury gas rises and enters the aquifers (oceans, lakes, and rivers) when it rains. The mercury is converted to methyl mercury and is eaten by fish. Since big fish eat little fish, the large fish retain large amounts of mercury. There have been many warnings to the public about excessive consumption of these contaminated fish. It is something to think about during your next trip to the sushi bar.
In conclusion, dental amalgam fillings are safe for you and your children. There is, however, a downside. These fillings are not cosmetic; they do not have a bonded surface to the teeth; they experience micro-leakage as they get older and break on the edges and often decay; and they make your tooth look grey. Many patients prefer the stronger and highly cosmetic benefits of our CEREC AC porcelain inlays and onlays or bonded esthetic composite fillings.