This is perhaps one of the most asked questions in our Midtown Manhattan dental practice, with so much misinformation, half-truths and so on spread far and wide, separating fact from fiction where your Amalgam fillings are concerned can be a difficult process.
The reason for the concern is that older amalgam fillings contained mercury along with silver, and understandably many people come to Ebenezer Dental wanting to know if they should have them removed, or are they OK to leave them as they are.
In fact, amalgams contain several metals, with mercury and silver being the largest components by volume, and the worry comes from the fact that the amalgam releases mercury in the form of vapor that can be then absorbed into the lungs by inhalation. Mercury has been identified as being a toxin that could be contributory to several diseases in larger quantities, and having this substance in the mouth is obviously where the concern arises.
Tests across the world and specifically by the FDA show that the level of vapor released is low enough that it is not a major risk, and even someone with 15 amalgam fillings would not be exposed to enough mercury vapor to suffer from its ingestion. This has not prevented some preventative action however, Sweden banned amalgam as a filling material in 2008 due to the environmental impacts and concern about health.
This of course paints a confusing picture, which is perhaps one reason why there are so many people searching for the answer to this conundrum. In truth, all scientific evidence suggests that amalgam fillings are entirely safe, and unless there is further decay around the area it is not necessary to have them removed. There is a solid dental reason for this too, drilling out the amalgam will inevitably have an effect on the surrounding healthy tooth, and should only be done where further repairs are actually needed or the filling is causing problems itself. As ever, at Ebenezer Dental we look for the restorative, rather than replacement, treatment.
Having said that, the tooth colored material now available looks and feels far more natural and is a wonderful alternative for those in need of new or replacement fillings, and your Dentist in Midtown Manhattan Dr. Karen Kang only uses these composite resin and porcelain inlays and onlays, tooth colored fillings rather than the old amalgam material. Not only do they look better, but they are better for the environment where manufacturing is concerned as well.
If you are needing a filling today, or are having problems with older amalgam fillings, Dr. Karen Kang, your Dentist in Midtown West will be happy to take care of your dental needs, with safe, non-toxic and beautiful looking tooth colored fillings that not only blend in to your natural teeth, but are hard wearing and feel smooth and natural in the mouth.
Amalgam fillings are not something to be too concerned over if you have them, but there are much better alternatives available today.