I keep hearing the phrase mercury-free dentistry. What does it mean? If I don’t go to a mercury-free dentist does that mean they’re using mercury in my treatment?
Joseph T. – Boston
The old type of standard filling, commonly called silver fillings, are made up mostly of mercury. Professionally, these fillings are known as amalgam fillings. Though mercury is a known toxin, the American Dental Association (ADA) has declared that these fillings are perfectly safe. However, many people have taken issue with the way they’ve conducted their studies. The fillings they’ve tested were in stasis and not tried in real world situations and stress.
Other studies conducted, that do put these fillings in the situations they’ll likely be in, have shown that the mercury can leach from the fillings. Because of this many people are requesting their dentist not use those fillings. When dentists comply with that, they’ll use composite fillings instead. These are commonly called white fillings. These dentists will generally advertise as mercury-free dentists. That’s what it means. They’ll give you a filling that doesn’t contain any mercury.
If you have amalgam fillings and are concerned about the mercury content, you can have a dentist remove them. However, you want to be certain they know how to do a sanitary amalgam removal. This method protects you from inhaling any mercury vapors.
As an aside, white fillings have additional benefits over their amalgam counterparts. They not only strengthen your teeth, but also blend in so well, no one can tell you even have a filling.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Raymond Bolt.