Many years ago, if you went to the dentist and needed to have a tooth filled, your only option was an amalgam filling. Now, thanks to advances in dental technology, there is a safer, healthier option for fillings – tooth-colored composite or ceramic fillings.
We will take a closer look at why amalgam fillings are so dangerous and why dentists, like Dr. Tiffany K. Shields at Smiles by Shields, prefers to use tooth-colored composite or ceramic fillings.
Amalgam Fillings Release Metals into Your Mouth and Body
Amalgam is made up of a combination of metals that create a strong, sturdy material. When used in dentistry, the material is placed into the tooth and used as filling material to prevent the further spread of tooth decay. While this sounds good in theory, it can be extremely harmful to your health.
Amalgam fillings can harm your health by releasing toxic chemicals into your body. The toxic chemicals slowly work their way into the body by traveling through the bloodstream or by being ingested with your saliva.
Other ways toxic chemical vapors work their way into your body is by the following actions:
- Placement of the amalgam filling in your mouth releases toxins while the filling is placed
- Chewing food
- Chewing gum
- Brushing your teeth
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
These everyday actions may not seem harmful, but if you have an amalgam filling they can be potentially dangerous to your health. Each of these actions releases a mercury vapor that can be absorbed into your bloodstream. Over time, these mercury vapors can cause mercury poisoning which can have an adverse effect on your health.
Who is at Risk for Developing Problems with Amalgam Fillings?
Amalgam fillings are dangerous to any person, but there are certain people that have a higher risk for developing problems from these types of fillings.
People who are at a higher risk for developing problems with amalgam fillings include:
- Children under the age of six
- Women who are pregnant
- Women who breastfeed as the mercury vapors can be transferred to a child through breast milk
- Young infants who are breastfeeding or consuming breast milk
- People who suffer from kidney disease or other kidney impairments
- People with a genetic predisposition for mercury sensitivity
- People who have neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s
- People with extreme allergies
- Anyone who has worked around toxic metals
Other Potential Dangers of Amalgam Fillings
While amalgam fillings impact a person’s health, they also pose a danger to people who work in dentist offices and the environment.
Toxic mercury vapors can be released into the environment through the following ways:
- Improper disposal of fillings at dental clinics
- Human waste disposal
- Ending up in landfills and leaking back into the environment
In addition to environmental problems, amalgam fillings can cause problems in the workplace. Dentists and dental staff who work around amalgam fillings on a daily basis are exposed to mercury vapors that can prove dangerous. Even if proper precautions have been taken, these individuals are at risk for developing mercury poisoning due to their close proximity to this hazardous material.
Why Dentists Prefer Tooth-Colored Fillings
Dentists, especially holistic dentists, prefer to use tooth-colored fillings for a number of reasons.
Those reasons include:
- A more cost-effective option for people in need of dental services
- Safer than amalgam fillings
- Easier to replace should a problem occur
- Fillings expand and contract which prevents fracturing of the tooth
- Stronger material that gives patients the feel of a natural tooth
- Looks and feels like natural teeth
- Easy to work with which allows dentists to bond it to the tooth with little or no problem at all
Tooth-colored fillings are a safer, healthier option for people in need of dental work. Smiles by Shields uses fluoride-free, BPA-free composite or ceramic fillings for all dental procedures. We feel this allows our patients to live happier, healthier lives while giving them a natural looking smile.
To learn more about tooth-colored fillings and the dangers surrounding amalgam fillings, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Tiffany K. Shields. Dr. Shields will gladly answer any questions you may have about amalgam fillings and tooth-colored composite or ceramic fillings.