I keep reading that it’s important to replace your old silver fillings, which are loaded with mercury, with a white filling. I also hear you need to use a mercury-free dentist to do it. Is that really necessary? I only have one filling. I’ve had it for about 2o years.
Cyndy L. – Brooklyn
There is some controversy surrounding the whole amalgam versus composite fillings. Here’s the problem. The regulatory agencies say there is no danger with the mercury. But, an increasing number of studies show that mercury is released, especially with eating, drinking, and activity over the years. However, the regulatory agencies only test the fillings in static, ideal conditions.
With patients doing research and taking control of their health, a lot more dentists are going mercury-free, so that should be a big help in finding a dentist to help you. You’ll also likely find you like the white fillings much better. They’re better for your teeth and reduce sensitivity.
Even if mercury wasn’t a problem, amalgam fillings cause problems for other reasons. As they age, they tend to leak. That allows food to get trapped between the filling and your tooth, causing loads of problems. As yours are twenty-years-old, it’s probably not a bad idea to switch them out before they become an issue.
And to answer your original questions, a mercury-free dentist would be a good idea. Mercury vapors are released with amalgam removal. Mercury-free dentists know how to do sanitary amalgam removals.
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