For years now, there has been an ongoing debate regarding the safety of amalgam dental fillings. Amalgam fillings contain Mercury, a known neurotoxin. For this reason, many worry that exposure to Mercury vapors emitted from Amalgam fillings could be harmful, particularly to children and pregnant women. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released their findings after examining the safety of amalgam fillings. Their final regulation in 2009 classified dental amalgam into Class II (moderate risk).
Many feel that this ruling did not go far enough. Due to this controversy, the FDA agreed to re-examine this issue in 2011. At this point, they have not changed their ruling regarding dental amalgam. However, due to safety concerns, many dentists are choosing to offer only Mercury-free fillings. And, many consumers are choosing to have their cavities filled using only materials that do not contain Mercury (porcelain, composite, etc.). Some consumers are even going as far as having their amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite or porcelain fillings.
Amalgam fillings provide a relatively inexpensive and long-lasting means for filling decayed teeth. For these reasons, dentists have been using amalgam to fill cavities for decades. However, many patients are now choosing materials such as porcelain and composite over amalgam due to both safety concerns and a desire for a more natural appearance.
If you are going to have your amalgam fillings removed, it is important that you go to a dentist who is highly trained and uses the highest precautions to decrease your exposure to Mercury vapors during the process of removing the amalgam fillings. For more information about amalgam fillings, talk to a dentist in your local area.
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