Langebaan Dentist - Tandarts


Silver Fillings vs. Composite Fillings

Mercury and  Toxicity


Since its introduction onto this continent in the early 1800's, the use of a mixture of half silver and half mercury as dental "Amalgam" to fill teeth has created controversy. To this day the arguments continue. Much scientific research has been done, but the divisions seem to be so strong that those in favor of its use rationalize away the condemning research. Those against its use claim that politics and personal interest motivate amalgam's proponents.

The Facts (as I see them...)

Mercury is a known poison. It is, in fact, one of - if not the - most toxic of all the elements known!!! It is fact   that mercury is fully one-half of the mass of the filling you see when you look at any "silver" filling. It is fact  that mercury vaporizes in the mouth and that the vapor is inhaled and also directly absorbed into the body. It is fact   that mercury travels to all body tissues and concentrates in tissues where it can do damage in several known ways.


The question  is not whether the above facts are true, but whether enough of it occurs to be significant.... 

Those against its use have found compelling relationships to many serious illnesses ranging from depression to cancer, and from kidney disease to Alzheimer's. How can it be thought to cause so wide a range of problems? The suggested answer is that mercury from fillings doesn't cause a specific disease. It causes poisoning. And depending on which tissues it concentrates in, the symptoms will differ from one person to another. Two of the most common sites of concentration and damage, however, seem to be the brain and the kidneys.

Sweden and Germany have passed laws to stop or greatly curb the use of mercury-silver fillings. Their nationalized dental plans even help to pay for removal and replacement with alternate non-mercury materials.


The Dilemma

We are faced with compelling data that the mercury in fillings may be a real hazard to our health, but both sides seem so sure about their positions. What should we do? Is there a way to reason through this?

I think there is! First, we are being constantly bombarded with all sorts of chemical and biophysical noxious influences in our food, air, water...everywhere. Our immune systems are being stressed more and more. I believe we are seeing more chemically sensitive people and more illness from "environmental" causes. I think it makes sense to avoid known toxins, especially if there is a reasonable alternative...and there is (read on...).


The Choice

In the past if you wanted to avoid mercury-silver fillings your only alternative would have been gold. Gold works well - very well, in fact - but it is expensive, technically difficult, and while I think it looks much better than "silver" which corrodes and turns rough and black, it still doesn't look even close to natural. Additionally, it is not a practical choice for children because of the cost and the lengthy procedure and high degree of cooperation needed to do a good job. Now, however, we have other choices.

Porcelains, glass, and composites are new materials (or old ones used in new ways) that can not just fix a tooth, but truly restore it. That is, restore not only its function, but also its natural appearance and youthful beauty. These restorations are very natural in appearance and feel and wear very much the way natural teeth do. Obviously no material is as nice as naturally beautiful and healthy teeth, but with these materials we can come amazingly close!


In addition to the natural appearance of these new techniques, the way they are attached to the teeth is a whole new revolutionary shift in dentistry. Silver fillings are just stuffed in a hole in the tooth. It is the shape of that hole that prevents the filling from falling is not really stuck to the tooth. That is why so often when the tooth has been hollowed out for a silver filling, creating a shell of enamel around the silver, part of that shell of enamel cracks and falls off. Then you need caps and often root canals, etc. On the other hand, the new esthetic materials are strongly bonded to the tooth. That refers to a chemical and micro-mechanical technique that intimately binds or bonds the material to the surrounding tooth structure. The enamel cannot just fall off any more once it has been bonded. The resulting restoration restores not just function and beauty, but returns most of the original strength to the tooth. It has been shown that a large silver filling reduces the strength of a tooth to about 30% of original values! Bonded esthetic fillings return the tooth to 80% or more!

The Solution

It seems to me a no-brainer to conclude that if there is even any possibility that the mercury-containing silver could be a danger to your health, and given the fact that "silver" fillings are ugly and weaken teeth and that there are now techniques available that don't seem to have any negative health potential, strengthen teeth, and look beautifully natural, that it makes no sense to have any more silver fillings placed in your mouth!