Amalgam – What Is It?
A “silver” filling, or dental amalgam, is not a true alloy. Amalgams are made up of 50% or more mercury. The amalgam also consists of approximately 35% silver, 9% tin, 6% copper and a trace of zinc. More than 100 million mercury fillings are placed each year in the U.S. alone and here in Australia over 90% of dentists still use them for restoring posterior teeth.
Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal and is considered as dangerous as lead and arsenic yet the dental profession is trained that it is perfectly safe once it is mixed in with the other metals. However, mercury evaporates as a vapour every time you chew, grind, and swallow, brush your teeth or the fillings get warm. The average person swallows around 3000 times a day, swallowing brings your teeth into contact causing friction on any existing amalgam fillings.
It is our recommendation that: a) patient’s avoid having further amalgam fillings placed as there are many other filling materials available that are equally durable making the need to use amalgam obsolete. and b) if amalgam needs to be removed, for example because there is decay or a problem with the filling, that it is done following our safe amalgam removal guidelines.