It is common to hear about traditional silver filings in cavities. However, the fact is that it is not pure silver, but an alloy comprised of 43% silver and 54% mercury. Materials of this nature are commonly referred to as amalgam or ‘silver fillings’ and causes people to falsely believe that it is primarily silver, although the component of silver is marginal. As per studies conducted by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), the dangers of this specific filling when used to fill cavities is that it constantly releases trace amounts of mercury into the mouth which over time begins to accumulate within the body.
Disadvantages of Dental Mercury
As an oftentimes overlooked statistic, amalgam accounts for over 250 tons of mercury material that enters the dental industry on an annual basis. This in turn leads to polluting the environment through the water that is released from clinics and in human waste. Furthermore, waste from dental clinics, sludge incineration, cremation, and landfills end up polluting the soil and air. After the mercury enters the environment, it metabolizes into methylmercury, which has a much higher toxicity level, and enters the food chain. Statistics have shown that 20% of all major US lakes, including estuaries and coastal bays, now have mercury warnings posted as a precaution to the individuals using those waters.
This mercury poisoning leads to disruptions in human hormones and reproductive systems. Eventually, it can lead to brain damage and a host of other neurological issues. As a result, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reiterated the health effects of using amalgam in dental procedures. It is a dangerous material that contains a neurotoxin and is implanted so close to the brain that vapors are emitted when amalgam is heated, whether you are chewing, eating, and so on.
There is a grave concern that the impact of this toxin is considerably higher in children and pregnant women. Even the FDA has warned dental professionals about the health concerns of mercury toxicity within a vulnerable population. The exposure to mercury over a period of time has been linked to:
Neurological and brain problems
Renal and Urological problems
According to the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, if you or someone you know still has the more traditional type of filings, it is important to know about the symptoms of prolonged exposure to mercury. These include memory loss, depression, anxiety, insomnia, numbness of the extremities, lethargy and muscle weakness, speech impairment and a metallic taste. However, if you fear that you have been suffering the ill-effects of mercury poisoning, it is best to consult with your dentist today. Although the list of symptoms varies depending upon the individual and the number of amalgam fillings they have, it is best to get them safely removed and replace them with a safer, more modern material such as cast gold, ceramic, composite resin, or glass ionomer. Contact your local dentist’s office and ensure that they can remove them safely so that there is no chance of further contact with mercury.