It wasn’t that long ago that amalgam dental filling material containing mercury was common and considered safe for use. Even though we have long been aware of mercury’s poisonous properties, mercury in silver (i.e. amalgam) fillings was, for some reason, deemed safe and has been in use for well over a century.
(Article by Harrison Luoma)
Although amalgam is both durable and affordable, making it a popular option, recent concern over off-gassing of mercury fillings has led to several studies and a review by the FDA. This includes the examination of the amount of mercury gas produced by fillings and the amount absorbed by the body through inhalation. In the meantime, patients interested in mercury-free options need only search for a “dentist near me” to find mercury-free services.
With advances in cosmetic dentistry options, including veneers and dental implants, it’s only natural that newer materials would replace old standbys, much as Invisalign is replacing wire braces in many instances. What can you expect from mercury-free dentistry and what benefits will you enjoy in the process? Here are a few basics.
What is Mercury-Free Dentistry?
The name pretty much says it all. Any regular or emergency dentist that runs a mercury-free establishment is committed to using only products that contain no mercury. This means they won’t offer silver or amalgam fillings to patients. In addition, they can help concerned patients schedule the removal and replacement of existing amalgam fillings.
What are the Benefits?
The main benefit of seeing a mercury-free dentist is you gain access to products and services you know are durable, affordable, and most importantly, safe. This may not make a difference if you’re seeking tooth whitening services or root canal alternatives. However, considering how much more common cavities and fillings are than other dental procedures, finding a mercury-free dental practice is sure to deliver more benefits than drawbacks.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
The biggest potential pitfall after deciding to switch to a mercury-free dental office is you could have trouble finding a dental office that fits the bill. Many dentists continue to offer silver fillings containing mercury as a low-cost option for patients since they are still approved by the FDA. There are, however, directories specifically dedicated to helping patients find mercury-free dental offices.
You could also say that receiving fillings from a mercury-free office may cost more since other types of fillings might be more expensive than silver. However, this depends entirely on the filling material you choose.
Resin is fairly comparable in price to amalgam. When you consider the potential health detriments of absorbing mercury into your body (and attendant medical bills), suddenly a negligible cost difference seems moot. Don’t forget, many insurance policies cover fillings anyway, negating out-of-pocket expense.
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