Are Dental Amalgams Really Safe?

Dental AmalgamsIf you have tooth decay and it is getting worse, chances are your dentist in Slough will recommend dental filling with amalgam, the application of a dental crown, or the performance of a root canal. More often than not, you will be choosing dental fillings as they are relatively cheaper, a lot easier to apply, and easier to maintain.

The Amalgam Filling

Treating tooth decay with a filling made of amalgam has been a centuries-old practise. Dental amalgams that dentists like were first documented by Su Kung during the Tang Dynasty in 659 AD. It has since been the method of choice for restoring dentition because it was relatively strong and durable as well as easy to apply. However, in recent decades, the dental amalgam of old is slowly being overshadowed by the safer and more technologically advanced methods of crowns and root canals.

The Mercury Dilemma

Much of dental amalgam’s declining popularity is anchored in its composition where 50 percent of it comes in the form of mercury. The other chemicals that form the dental amalgam include silver, copper, and tin. Many individuals are afraid of mercury because of reports that mercury vapours can significantly lead to neurological as well as respiratory problems.

However, the Food and Drug Administration of the US had clearly stated that the elemental mercury found in dental amalgams are safe and should not be a cause of concern. Additionally, if historical records are to be considered, dental amalgams have been used by mankind for almost 1,400 years. That alone should be enough proof that mercury in dental amalgams is safe.

Mercury Alternatives?

Unfortunately, studies have shown that the best chemical to bond all other substances to the teeth is mercury. However, technological advances are now making headway into the inclusion of indium in the dental amalgam. This greatly reduces the amounts of mercury that are perceived to be released into the environment. Additionally, some practitioners are now increasing the copper component of the amalgam and decreasing the composition of mercury.

Dental amalgams are safe, durable, and very cost-effective way of treating tooth decay. While the environmental issue of releasing mercury when you bit on your amalgam-filled teeth has been a cause of concern for the past several years, science has shown that the environmental effects of dental mercury are negligible to nil.