Amalgam Fillings Side Effects

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) recently revealed research which links cases of arthritis to dental amalgam fillings. Dentists used to routinely use silver-colored fillings. However, even today, 50% of dentists still use mercury in the United States. Amalgam fillings are most often used now in areas servicing financially disadvantaged children and adults. The reason for this is because amalgam fillings cost less than their composite counterparts. 

Amalgam Research Revealed

Researchers David and Mark Geier reported finding numerous incidences of arthritis peak among adults with four-to-seven dental amalgam filling surfaces. An important thing to note is that the number of surfaces does not refer to the number of fillings. For instance, each tooth has five surfaces. This means that a person with only one filling could have up to five surfaces.

Data from the 2015-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) included:

  • Demographics
  • Dental Exams
  • Arthritis Diagnoses 

Mercury & Arthritis 

The study revealed considerably more incidences of arthritis in people with silver-colored mercury amalgam fillings than those with other fillings, such as tooth-colored composites. On September 24, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated data relative to the risks of dental amalgam fillings for people in *susceptible groups. However, they did not specifically mention arthritis when they warned of “harmful health effects of mercury vapor released from the device.”

*Groups Susceptible to Potentially Harmful Side Effects from Amalgam Fillings:

  • Pregnant women (and their developing fetuses)
  • Women who plan to become pregnant
  • Nursing women (and their newborns and infants)
  • Children (especially those younger than six years of age)
  • People with pre-existing neurological disease such as Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, or Parkinson’s Disease
  • People with impaired kidney function; and
  • People with known heightened sensitivity (allergy) to mercury or other components of dental amalgam.

FDA Conclusions

“Our reviews and discussions have generally arrived at the same conclusion: while evidence suggests exposure to mercury vapor from dental amalgam fillings doesn’t lead to harmful health effects for most people, there may be some effects in people with certain health issues such as those who are hypersensitive to mercury. Uncertainties remain about: the effects that long-term exposure to dental amalgam may have on the specific high-risk groups we’ve listed above; the potential for mercury in dental amalgam to convert to other mercury compounds in the body; and whether the accumulation of mercury in some body fluids and tissues results in other unintended health outcomes.”

Healthy Alternatives

Today, dentists rely on much safer materials for fillings. The three most popular materials include gold and porcelain. 

Gold Advantages

  • Good resistance to further decay
  • Wears well as – almost the same hardness as enamel
  • Does not fracture under stress
  • Good longevity

Gold Disadvantages

  • Expensive
  • Conducts hot and cold
  • Color may show when the patient smiles
  • Requires multiple visits

Porcelain Advantages

  • Color
  • Resistance to surface wear
  • Long lasting
  • Wears well as it holds up to chewing force

Porcelain Disadvantages

  • Expensive
  • Brittle material can fracture
  • Usually requires more than one visit

If you have health concerns and think you may have amalgam fillings, schedule an appointment with Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry. We will evaluate your fillings and come up with the treatment plan that’s right for you.

About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora, California

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.

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