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.

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.

The role of saliva in good oral health

The average person produces 1.5 liters of saliva every day. While this seems like a large amount, saliva plays a critical role in keeping your teeth, gums and mouth healthy. Not only does it help you chew, swallow and digest your food, it also helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. This is because saliva helps wash particles of food off of your teeth that could cause plaque and decay. In addition, it neutralizes acidic foods and beverages that contribute to tooth decay.

When enough saliva is not produced, problems can arise. People who have dry mouth are known to have poorer oral and gum health. According to the American Dental Association, too much dryness can irritate soft tissues in the mouth, leading to inflammation and an increased risk of infection. And, as noted above, a lack of saliva means they aren’t able to easily remove food, sugar and acid from around their teeth.

One other important characteristic of saliva is its richness in calcium and other minerals. This means saliva can help reverse the beginning stages of tooth decay by remineralizing teeth and repairing enamel. To ensure you are producing enough saliva, try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on hard candies to stimulate salivary glands. If you are concerned about your level of saliva production, talk to your True Care Advantage plan dentist.

Advancements in Tooth Filling Technology

It’s not exactly thrilling to find out you need a filling, but the ever-changing nature of dental technology has given patients a wider variety of choices when it comes to repairing a decayed tooth. Right now in your mouth, you probably have one or more fillings made out of metal. However, while metal used to be the most common method of filling teeth, your dentist will probably tell you that metal is no longer your only option.

In fact, modern fillings are typically made from ceramic and plastic compounds in order to appear more realistic and blend into the natural color of your tooth. When developing these new fillings, researchers take several factors into consideration, including durability, quality, longevity, and cost-effectiveness. The American Dental Association suggests that there are three major kinds of materials used to make fillings… (American Health Advantage)