Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?

The FDA has issued amalgam fillings harmless, however some people are not convinced. Amalgam fillings are silver and color and have a mixture of mercury, powdered silver, tin, and copper.
The reality is that there are few things in the dental industry that have gotten more attention than these fillings. In December of 2010, the FDA advisory panel got together again to reevaluate the safety of amalgam. They decided to uphold the prior statement, however they advised the FDA to continue in the evaluation of the safety of these fillings.

Amalgam fillings have been used 150 years. They have been the fillings of choice for so long because it is a very soft metal.

So you may be asking yourself what is the big concern over amalgam fillings. Well some critics have suspect that the fillings lead to neurological problems in fetuses and young children. The FDA acknowledges that the fillings do release very low amounts of mercury vapor that can be inhaled. The FDA concluded that the levels were too low to have any health implications to children above the age of 6. They also stated that the amount of mercury was so low that it did not affect the quality of breast milk to any amount that would affect the infants.

However, despite all this the FDA reclassified dental mercury from a class I device to a class II device. A class II needs special considerations and the dentist needs to warn the patient of any potential side effects.

There are alternatives to amalgam fillings and the truth is most dentists do not use them anymore. There is a new composite resin material that is used in place of the amalgam fillings. In addition to being safer this new style of filling is also white so it blends in perfectly with the other teeth.

Some people with amalgam fillings are concerned about the potential health risks and are seeking treatment to have their old amalgam fillings removed and replaced with newer white composite fillings. Having this done can be expensive, especially if you have more than a couple cavities; unfortunately dental insurance does not cover this, but there are options like discount dental plans, provided by that do help to offset the costs of amalgam removal by 20-60%.


When is it time to replace a filling?

If you’ve ever gone to the dentist and were told you needed to get a filling, you’re certainly not alone. Millions of people receive fillings each year in order to replace a section of a tooth that eventually decayed. However, even with modern dental advancements, all fillings need to be replaced at some point. The Journal of the American Dental Association suggests that unless fillings are replaced in a timely manner, gaps can be created between the filling and the tooth, allowing bacteria to enter the tooth. Left untreated, that bacteria can result in the need of a root canal, or worse, removal of the entire tooth. To avoid these unpleasant consequences, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist regularly so he or she can test the strength of your current fillings.

The American Dental Association makes it clear that early detection is vital because it reduces your chance of needing more intrusive and expensive procedures. Your dentist can tell you at your appointment if there has been excessive wear or cracks in a filling. In that case, you will need to get it replaced as soon as possible. Talk to your dentist about what’s right for you and how long it will be before you should expect to replace one or more of your fillings. Fortunately, modern technology has increased the quality and appearance of fillings, so if you do need to get a replacement, it will likely last longer and serve you better than your previous ones. And with your discount dental plan, you will be able to get the treatments you need for a price you can afford.

How sealants can save your child’s teeth from decay

One of the best-kept “secrets” when it comes to children’s oral health is the sealant. These decay-preventing treatments are simple, painless, and effective – yet only about one-third of children have them, according to the National Institutes of Health. Sealants are essentially painted on to a child’s teeth and act as a shield against harmful bacteria and sugars. This treatment is especially important for the back molars, as they contain deeper ridges and are harder to clean with a toothbrush. During the simple procedure, your child’s dentist will clean and dry the targeted tooth. A solution is then applied to roughen the surface of the tooth and help the sealant stick more effectively. Next, the tooth is dried and the liquid sealant is applied. Within a few seconds, the sealant hardens into the ridges of the tooth and is ready to start protecting your child’s mouth from decay. That’s it – really!

The National Institutes of Health suggests that children who get sealants are able to save time and money later on because they have fewer fillings and other decay-correcting procedures. Best of all, with proper care, sealants can last up to a decade. During that time, if your dentist starts to notice any wear, he or she can reapply the sealant. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most critical time to apply sealants is as soon as a child’s back molars erupt. This generally occurs between the ages of 5 and 7 for the first set, and again between 11 and 14 for the “12-year molars.” To learn more about sealants and guarding your child’s teeth against decay, talk with a dentist on your True Dental Discounts, dental plan. It’s one of the most important investments you can make toward your children’s health.

What are dental amalgam and its alternatives?

If you’re like millions of other Americans, you may have had a cavity filled with dental amalgam, the silver-colored material that makes up traditional fillings. According to the FDA, dental amalgam is “a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper.” Although dental amalgam fillings are known for their longevity and cost-effectiveness, many people choose to have cavities filled with an alternative material due to concerns with its appearance or mercury content. One such alternative choice is a composite resin filling. Made primarily of plastic, these fillings can be colored to match the surrounding teeth, making them an attractive choice for many patients.

However, the FDA notes that composite resin fillings may need to be replaced faster than traditional dental amalgam. Before making a decision, it is important to get the opinion of a dentist on your True Care Advantage dental plans. He or she can review the advantages of each type of filling and make a recommendation about the best one for your situation. Remember: Regardless of the filling material, it is important to get any cavities taken care of in order to protect the integrity of your teeth.