By Countryside Dental • November 12, 2015 • Comments Off on About Mercury Fillings
Technology has evolved tremendously since the 70’s when the first light-cured cosmetic restorations started to be an option.
We now have an incredible amount of brands and shade options for cosmetic restorations, but after almost a half a century, this evolving technology unfortunately has not been able to come up with a material that is as durable as the mercury fillings (Amalgam).
Despite being a longer lasting restoration and being easier and quicker to place, Doctors and patients are increasingly critical of dental amalgam fillings. They have become extremely undesirable due to cosmetics, and the health concerns of mercury release because of the implicit health effects of the the human body’s inability to eliminate it. (Allegedly, it’s responsible for certain neurological or auto-immune disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease).
Amalgam restorations are composed of several metals, about 45-50% of mercury, and the proportion left in each filling may vary depending on the mixing and manipulation technique used in each dental office and even each case. It’s estimated that 75% of Americans are unaware about that fact that amalgam fillings are actually 50% mercury, and this is no accident. The American Dental Association (ADA) popularized term “silver fillings” (which is really deceptive) making consumers believe amalgam is made mainly of silver when actually it has twice as much mercury than silver.
Mercury fillings have caused a worldwide debate and up until today it is banned in many European countries including Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Russia, and largely in Japan but not in the United States.
The latest mercury treaty session took place in Geneva, Switzerland in January 2013. There the mercury treaty was finalized, and included important provisions to reduce and eliminate mercury pollution; one of them being a requirement for countries to phase down the use of dental amalgam. In a 2012 letter to European Union (EU) member state representatives and dental experts, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) also asked recipients to support the phase-out of the use of mercury in dentistry, both in the EU and around the world. A new UN treaty on mercury requires countries to phase down dental amalgam.
The European Commission report noted both human health and environmental concerns related to dental amalgam:
…dental amalgam is a significant contributor to overall EU environmental emissions of mercury from human activities. Mercury emitted to the air can be partly deposited into other environmental compartments (soil, surface water, vegetation). Emissions to soil and groundwater are also significant, although their contribution to overall mercury releases to this environmental compartment is more difficult to quantify.
It is estimated that about half of the mercury released from current and historical dental amalgam use remains potentially bioavailable, with the potential to contaminate fish in particular, the other half being either sequestered for long-term (stored in hazardous waste landfills) or recycled for new purposes.
All individuals are exposed to mercury pollution to some degree; however, some groups are particularly exposed and/or vulnerable to the health effects of mercury pollution (principally in the form of methylmercury through diet), such as high-level fish consumers, women of childbearing age and children.
This presents a risk of negative impacts on health, in particular affecting the nervous system and diminishing intellectual capacity. There are also environmental risks, for example the disturbance of microbiological activity in soils and harm to wildlife populations. More than 70% of the European ecosystem area is estimated to be at risk today due to mercury, with critical loads for mercury exceeded in large parts of western, central and southern Europe.
Patients are our number one priority and we will never risk your health. That is why our dental office is a 100% MERCURY-FREE practice! We use materials such as BruxZir® Metal-free Zirconia Crowns, a virtually unbreakable and beautiful material that is exceptionally bio-compatible.
We take special precaution when removing dental amalgams by using double high suction lines and making sure the patient doesn’t swallow any of the pulverized alloy, nor is left in the surrounding tissues, since it can be absorbed and also cause tattoos in the gums or cheeks.
A private dental practice where our patient's priorities always come first.