Dental Amalgam

The Safety of Dental Amalgam

Amalgam dental fillings contain mercury. In fact Mercury makes up most of a dental amalgam filling. This is why there has been some controversy over their use in recent years. Many studies have been done on this subject and the results are conclusive.

Dental amalgam has not long term health effects.

This is likely because the patient's direct exposure to mercury is very limited. In fact most of the exposure occurs while the dentist is placing the filling in the mouth. It has been proven that the body still absorbs limited amounts of mercury after the procedure.

The amount of mercury has been tested in urine samples of patients that received dental amalgam fillings. It was found that the level of mercury in the patients tested was lower than the mercury that is normal for those who have never been exposed to mercury before. This is also, at times, referred to as background mercury levels.

The findings of recent studies suggest that there are no adverse health effects for exposure to dental amalgam fillings. For parents and patients who are still concerned about getting amalgam fillings there are other options.

It is important to remember that amalgam fillings have been proven to be safe. In fact there have even been studies done on the effects of amalgam in children. This study proved that the amalgam had no effects on the health, memory or IQ of the children.

For children amalgam fillings are a great option. This is especially true if the child is going to lose the primary tooth. Children tend to adapt well to the silver filling in their mouth as well. Parents and dentist can tell the child that they received a silver start for being such a good patient! The tooth fairy tends to pay a bit more for teeth with silver stars!

Resin, or composite, fillings are becoming increasingly popular these days. These fillings are made from a different material that does not contain any metals. This makes them a great choice for those who do not want to take a risk with the extra exposure to mercury.

Composite vs Amalgam Fillings

Composite fillings are often used for fillings that will be in the front of the mouth. They are cosmetically pleasing. The dentist will match the composite to the color of the patients tooth. Many people would rather have composite than metal for this reason alone.

Composite fillings are more expensive than amalgam fillings. Tooth colored composite fillings generally run around £85. The price can fluctuate depending on the size of the filling. Private dentists tend to charge a bit more than NHS dentists for composite fillings.

The cost of amalgam is significantly cheaper. Amalgam fillings tend to cost between £34 and £48. Some dentists believe that amalgam fillings last a bit longer than composite fillings. This fact is yet to be proven.

Dental insurance companies usually prefer that a dentist uses an amalgam filling. More often than not the patient will be responsible for the difference in the cost of composite filling. Most dentists will explain this to the patient. The patient can then decide whether or not the composite filling is worth the extra money.

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