Your Questions About Traditional Amalgam Fillings

Are mercury free fillings a healthier option?

Amalgam fillings have been used for a long time and have proved to be a strong method of filling a damaged tooth.

Increasingly though, patients are beginning to question whether they want this type of filling due to its lack of aesthetic appeal but also to the potential dangers of the use of mercury in them.

Our Bristol cosmetic dentist takes a look at some questions about amalgam fillings and the white tooth filling alternatives below.

Q – Why the concern about the use of mercury?

Mercury is a highly toxic substance in its liquid form and has been linked to a number of medical issues related to the nervous system, especially in children. It is also suspected of playing a role in illnesses such as depression and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers. Concerns are sufficient enough that some Scandinavian countries have banned its use in fillings altogether whilst others are making determined efforts to phase it out.

However, we also have to balance this by saying that the regulatory authorities in the UK do still consider amalgam fillings to be safe for most people.

Q – Should I have my amalgam fillings removed and replaced?

This is a choice of the patient. Research has indicated that some people are more sensitive to mercury and if you are one of these, it may be worth considering their replacement with a white filling substitute which contains no mercury.

Some patients have noted an improvement in their health following its removal although the jury is still out, to an extent, on whether this is a psychosomatic effect. With many of the illnesses that mercury has been linked with, such as Alzheimers, coming later in life though, removal of amalgam may be a good precaution.

Q – Is it risky removing amalgam? Will the procedure cause the mercury to escape?

At Beau Monde Dental Care, we take the safety of our patients very seriously and would not perform this procedure if we felt that we could not prevent this from happening. Precautions are taken to prevent any pieces of the old amalgam filling from entering the body and the use of high speed drills and water irrigation minimises the risk of contamination during the procedure.

Q – Will it be painful?

If it is a minor filling then there may even be no need for a local anaesthetic. In most cases though, and especially with larger fillings, we use a local anesthetic to help our Bristol dental patients avoid any discomfort that may be felt during the procedure.

To ensure the complete removal of the amalgam, it may, in some cases, be necessary to have more than the one procedure.

Q – What about the mercury already in my body?

It is possible that traces of mercury may have found their way into your system. The body though is very good at cleansing itself but supplements such as vitamin C especially, have been shown to be useful in speeding the process up. That and a healthy diet and lifestyle can make an improvement to your health.

Q – What will you fill my teeth with afterwards?

At Beau Monde Dental Care in Bristol, we want our patients to be healthy but also to be pleased with the appearance of their teeth and, accordingly, we use the latest in white dental fillings. These new composite fillings are now almost equal in strength to amalgam fillings and have the added benefit of being made to match the colour of your natural tooth.

For larger fillings, it may be a preferable option to use ceramic inlays or onlays to provide a stronger and more effective filling replacement, especially on the hard working rear teeth.

If you have concerns about your amalgam fillings and would like a consultation with us to discuss this, please call our Bristol dental practice on 0117 330 3495.