Are dental fillings with mercury in them safe? The unanswered question remains.
As Dr. Oz states on his website referencing the great Shakespeare, “To leave my amalgam fillings or not to leave my amalgam fillings, that is the question.”
What is healthy? Dental fillings these days are made of either gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, plastic or composite resin, depending on a patient’s preference. But this wasn’t always the case in the past.
Those dark looking fillings that may have been put in your teeth some years ago are made of silver amalgam, which is at the root of the controversy. Silver amalgam isn’t just made of silver but a mixture of metals including silver, copper, tin, and, possibly problematically, mercury.
Mercury is a toxic substance that can cause poisoning that damages the brain, heart and kidneys and causes severe diseases like acrodynia and Hunter-Russell syndrome.
There isn’t a lot of mercury in amalgam-made filings, but there is enough to cause Scandinavian countries to ban their use in 2008 due to environmental and health concerns.
The thing is, silver amalgam fillings release mercury vapor all the time in our mouths. They off-gas small amounts of the stuff, creating a constant, minute exposure.
Some think this is connected with neurological and health issues like chronic fatigue syndrome, but in the U.S, the FDA and National Institutes of Health (NIH) still defend their use.
Others feel differently, though. Silver amalgam filings are cost-effective to use and they do their job well with little immediately apparent side effects.
According to the American Dental Association, dental amalgam is a safe material.
But numerous studies are being done and Colgate states on their website that the FDA is reviewing its use.
Dangerous or not? Remains to be seen.