Mercury Filling Removal – How And Why Metal Fillings Are Removed?

If you go to a dentist today for a filling, they will most likely restore the damaged tooth with a tooth-coloured composite filling. But, if you had gone to a dentist 15-20 years back with a chipped tooth, they would have restored the affected tooth with a silver amalgam filling. 

So, despite their excellent durability and strength, why are these so-called metal fillings so uncommon today? The reason is that various concerns have been raised regarding the safety of these fillings. This is because silver amalgam fillings contain mercury as a major constituent. So, there is always a risk of mercury leak from old and worn-out fillings. Unfortunately, mercury is known to have many adverse health effects when inhaled or ingested in large quantities. And that is why many dentists these days recommend having one’s old amalgam fillings removed and replaced with tooth-coloured ones. 

In this blog, we will discuss how amalgam fillings are removed and why their removal is necessary. So, continue reading to learn more about amalgam filling removal. 

Do The Old Amalgam Dental Fillings Pose Any Health Risks?

Before we understand if there is any adverse health risk of amalgam fillings, we should learn more about their composition. So, amalgam fillings comprise two components: liquid mercury and powdered metal alloy. When liquid mercury is mixed with the powdered alloy, there is a reaction which gradually results in the hardening of the filling. However, despite ensuring the optimal mixing of mercury and the alloy, some liquid mercury still exists in the filing. Over time, when these fillings get worn out, mercury can leach out of them and can be inhaled or ingested. Unfortunately, very high concentrations of mercury can cause serious adverse health effects. So yes, worn-out and damaged amalgam fillings may pose a health risk. 

What Is The History Of Mercury Fillings In Teeth?

Silver amalgam fillings have been used extensively to restore chipped or crooked teeth. In fact, they were the only dental fillings available for tooth restoration until the last 3-4 decades. However, as scientists did more research on this material, they realised that these fillings carried certain health risks, especially if they were not placed or mixed properly. Since then, research has focused on developing safer, aesthetically pleasing alternatives. So today. Tooth-coloured composite fillings are commonly used for restoring damaged teeth instead of amalgam fillings.

Is There Any Possibility Of Corrosion In Dental Amalgam Fillings?

Amalgam fillings comprise liquid mercury and powdered alloy. When these constituents are mixed, a physical, metal-based mixture is prepared. Unfortunately, amalgam fillings can also undergo corrosion, resulting in the release of products that not only weaken the filling but may also cause adverse health effects. 

I Have 12 Amalgam Fillings. Should I Worry About My Health?

Amalgam fillings do not cause any health risks if placed properly, So no matter how many fillings you have in your mouth, if placed carefully by an experienced dentist, you don’t have to worry about anything. On the other hand, if these fillings are worn out, they may release mercury and other harmful products. So, it depends on the quality of the filling and not their quantity as to whether they will cause any adverse effect. 

Do Dentists Still Do Gold Fillings?

We often see actors having gold teeth in old movies and dramas. A few decades ago, restoring damaged teeth with gold alloy foils was common. However, these gold-based fillings were quite expensive. So, over time, various alternatives to these fillings have been proposed. So, although some dentists still do gold filings, this practice is not common anymore, as people nowadays prefer composite filings that precisely match the shade and colour of their natural teeth. 

Why Don’t The Silver Filings In Our Mouths Rust?

Despite the presence of saliva in the oral cavity, silver filings typically do not rust. This is because these filings comprise an alloy less likely to rust than pure metals. However, amalgam filings can also get damaged over time, causing the release of harmful products that can seriously affect one’s oral health and physical well-being

Why Are Dentists Still Using Mercury In Fillings?

Although concerns have been raised regarding the safety of amalgam fillings, research has shown that carefully prepared, mixed amalgam fillings do not pose any serious health-related adverse effects. In fact, the amount of mercury released from multiple amalgam filings is insufficient to cause any serious adverse effects. So that is why dentists are still using mercury fillings these days. But the British Dental Association recommends phasing out these fillings and switching to aesthetically more pleasing and safer composite restorations. 

How Long Does It Take To Remove An Amalgam Filling?

The process of removing old amalgam fillings is straightforward, and it can be completed in under an hour.

  1. First, your dentist will use a drill to remove the amalgam filling.
  2. However, they will use high-pressure suction to ensure that all the filling constituents and the free mercury is sucked away and not inhaled or ingested by the patient or the dental team.
  3. Once the entire filling is removed, your dentist will replace it with a tooth-coloured composite filling. 

Should I Remove My Amalgam Fillings?

There is no need to have sound amalgam fillings removed as they don’t cause any adverse health effects except for cosmetic reasons. However, if you have worn-out filings, you should consider removing them and replacing them with aesthetically more pleasant resin-based fillings

Do you have worn-out silver amalgam fillings affecting your smile and personality? If you want to get them removed in Oxford, the best place to visit is The Oxford Smile Clinics. Why? Because we have the best dental team and state-of-the-art equipment in town to take care of your entire family’s dental needs. So, what are you waiting for? Book an appointment today and begin your journey towards a lasting and healthy smile.