Although no one has yet proved that the mercury in amalgam fillings is dangerously toxic to the human body, more and more dentists are offering an alternative to amalgam.
Before the 19th century, if teeth were filled rather than simply extracted, the resultant hole was usually plugged with either molten gold or silver. The heat killed the nerve of the tooth, and thus the tooth died. However, in the 1820s, Auguste Taveau, of Paris, added mercury to silver-tin from Frenchcoins and thus amalgam, which is soft and malleable at room temperature, was perfected.
Amalgam has many great qualities as a tooth filling material. It is tolerant of saliva and blood while it is being put in place. It is inexpensive, durable and easy to use. The FDI World Dental Association’s position is that amalgam is safe to use as a filling material, and across the world many other dental associations and public health agencies concur with this position.
However, increasingly patients are asking for fillings that are made of tooth-coloured resin composites, and in Soho, dentists are happy to provide these alternatives.
Here at PDS Dental, in Soho, dentists use resin-bonded fillings and indirect ceramic restorations in place of amalgam fillings. These can be placed either when a tooth is filled for the first time, or when old amalgam fillings need replacing because they have become worn and cracked over time.
Some people even choose to have all their mercury amalgam fillings replaced by their dentist in Soho, because they believe they are suffering the symptoms of mercury toxicity. It is agreed that chewing on amalgam fillings releases mercury vapour into the mouth and therefore the body, but just how toxic this is probably depends on the person and how sensitive they are. In the UK, pregnant women are advised not to have amalgam fillings in order to avoid harming the foetus.
People opposed to mercury fillings say they can lead to chronic disease, and autoimmune problems and Alzheimer’s.
In Soho, dentists are finding that many patients report a new lease of life after having mercury fillings replace with composite resin fillings.
Composite fillings are also better for the UK environment, where 5% of mercury emissions comes from dental mercury.