Silver amalgam fillings, which are made up of about 50% mercury, have been used by dentists for more than 150 years to fill cavities, but are these filings safe?
More commonly known as “silver filings,” silver dental amalgam fillings have traditionally been used because they are stronger and less expensive than other options, but the risk may far outweigh the benefits. The mercury used in “silver fillings” is elemental mercury, which is a silvery, colorless, odorless liquid that gives off a vapor at room temperature. When “silver fillings” are put in, these fillings are constantly emitting vapors breathed in daily. The amount is low, but health officials recommend using alternative materials for those seeking treatment for cavities or tooth decay. According to Health Canada, “Liquid elemental mercury, commonly found in household thermometers, thermostats and barometers, quickly forms a poisonous, colorless and odorless vapor when spilled. If inhaled, this vapor is rapidly absorbed through the lungs.” In addition, “at higher concentrations, mercury vapor can cause damage to the mouth, respiratory tract and lungs, and can lead to death from respiratory failure. Long-term exposure to low concentrations causes symptoms similar to those of methyl mercury.”
If these facts are concerning to you, Dr. Shem-Tov and North York Dental can provide a safe and long lasting option for dental fillings. At their office, patients are provided with the latest and most advanced alternatives available. One of those options is bonded ceramic-based composite of resins. Composite resin is a mixture of microscopic glass and ceramic particles which are dispersed in a plastic resin that is then bonded to the teeth. The material can be shaped, molded, and sculpted to fit any shape or contour of the tooth, resulting in a strong, sealed bond.
There are many advantages to using ceramic fillings over “silver filings,” beyond the issue of health concerns. Appearance wise, ceramic is the natural color of your teeth, so there is no more worry about unsightly, dark filings being seen. Bonded ceramic composite resins also seal better, insulating the tooth against temperature sensitivities, as well as preventing further damage or decay. Because resin is bonded, the seal that is made will reduce the chance of leakage, common with “silver filings.” Ceramic is also easily repaired, should repairs be needed.
If you are in need of filings, or filing replacements, North York Dental has the healthy, mercury-free, option for you.