The next time your dentist advises you that you or a child of yours needs a filling, ensure (by asking) he or she is using a material other than a mercury amalgam. If your present dentist is still using that kind of filling material, you might – no, you should – want to find another dentist.
Widely used since the 19th Century, filling materials often said to be ‘silver’ – actually a description of their color, not their make-up – are, in fact, roughly 50% mercury, an extremely topic material. Within the past few years, it’s become known that every time you chew and. among other things, drink hot beverages (such as coffee or tea), small amounts of mercury are freed from the amalgam and passed into your brain. (And you wondered why you don’t like going to the dentist!)
But get this: About the same time, a few years ago, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that mercury poisoning had been linked to skin-care products, it removed from its web site the following statement:
“Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses.”
You say WHAT?
While this is not a new story, it continues to get too little attention in the media – as do available alternatives that can be used to replace existing amalgam fillings. Both composite resin fillings and glass ionomer ones are, however, discussed on another FDA web site!
A Maryland company, Natural Dentist Associates, is probably not alone in offering replacement procedures, but their name is the first that comes up on a Google search of dentistry+alternatives to mercury amalgams. You probably should, if you’ve ever had cavities replaced with ‘silver’ fillings, look into the type of service that practice offers. Chances are, there’s a clued-in dentist not far from you offering something similar.