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Amalgam mercury fillings used to be the go-to material for repairing a tooth damaged by decay. However, thanks to modern dental advancements, there are now healthier, more durable, natural-looking options for restorative dentistry treatments.
Composite restorations are considered the best method for safely and effectively repairing cavities. Unlike mercury, composite filings are 100% non-toxic and match the natural color of your teeth. Here’s how your old mercury fillings could be affecting your health and why you may want to consider replacing them.
What Makes Mercury Fillings Controversial?
While mercury is considered toxic to our health, research studies have shown that mercury levels from amalgam fillings are not a direct cause of illnesses. Mercury is a chemical element present in water sources, in the air, and in many of the foods we eat, like seafood. Too much contact with this metal may be harmful to your health and lead to symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, memory loss, headaches, and body weakness.
Mercury poisoning is especially dangerous to pregnant women and can cause problems for the fetus, including brain and spinal cord damage and developmental issues.
Metal Filling Replacement Alternatives
With advancements in technology and materials, modern dental professionals tend to avoid metal fillings. Instead, they prefer to work with more natural and aesthetically-pleasing materials, such as tooth-colored composite resin, which is non-toxic and biocompatible.
Composite restorations are the result of modern advancements in dental technology. They have grown to be considered the best method for safely and effectively repairing cavities.
Unlike amalgam, composite fillings:
- Are 100% non-toxic and contain no mercury
- Require less removal your healthy tooth structure
- Can be securely bonded to your tooth’s surface and last for decades
- Can be quickly and safely repaired or replaced
- Match the natural color of your teeth, making them undetectable
Benefits of Having Old Fillings Replaced
Many patients who decide on having old silver fillings removed value the benefits of eliminating mercury from the body. By removing old mercury fillings, you’re gaining the valuable benefits of:
- Avoiding potential exposure to being in direct contact with mercury.
- Having peace of mind in knowing your mouth is free of potentially toxic elements.
- Gaining the aesthetic benefits of natural-looking composite fillings.
- Finding immediate relief of any symptoms related to mercury poisoning.
- Reducing the risk of being exposed to mercury vapors from chewing gum or eating hard foods.
Your mouth will need to be thoroughly examined before starting any dental treatment. This includes having an exam that typically includes X-rays, intraoral photos, and a review of your dental and medical history. During this comprehensive exam, your provider will review several factors that will determine the cost of the procedure, including:
- The number of amalgam fillings you need to have removed.
- The current size of your mercury fillings.
- The current location of your metal fillings.
- If your amalgam filling is leaking or has affected the health of the tooth.
There are specific challenges involved with removing old mercury fillings. For example, during the removal process, you may ingest some mercury. In extreme situations, the ingested mercury can travel through your digestive tract and potentially affect your immune system. As a result, you could suffer appetite loss, anemia, lower resistance to infection, and other mercury-related symptoms.
To minimize your risk of potential metal toxicity when mercury fillings are replaced, always ensure your dental provider is a highly trained professional that performs the removal process under thorough safety measures.
Choosing The Right Provider For Your Smile
At Aubrey Baudean DDS, we always recommend natural, tooth-colored composite resin fillings to restore the strength and health of your teeth. Removing amalgam fillings should be a carefully planned procedure, and finding the right provider should be a critical piece in renewing your smile.
For more information on the costs associated with mercury filling replacement and if your old fillings are safe to remove, contact Aubrey Baudean DDS to schedule a consultation appointment.