Amalgam fillings have been used for decades as in the past there were very few alternatives for repairing large cavities. That definitely isn’t the case nowadays as modern filling materials can safely and conservatively repair teeth and there is no need for a dentist to use this outdated material. In addition, there have been extensive concerns about the safety of amalgam due to its mercury content.
A number of studies have been conducted into its use and the US Food and Drug Administration declared amalgam safe in 2009, but only for children and adults age 6 or older. This doesn’t exactly inspire confidence and we haven’t used amalgam for the past fifteen years. There are far more suitable alternatives that are better for the overall health of the tooth, preserving more of the structure. Amalgam expands and contracts when in contact with hot and cold and this constant movement creates micro-fractures in the tooth, weakening the structure over time. In contrast, modern alternatives such as composite resin and ceramics act in harmony with the tooth, restoring strength and structure in a way that is highly biocompatible. The world’s best performing filling method is CEREC, which we offer at Apple Dental.
While we wouldn’t necessarily advocate removing an amalgam filling that is still viable, all fillings need renewing periodically and we will regularly check the condition to make sure they are not leaking or crumbling. When the time comes we will safely remove the amalgam, taking precautions to protect you during this process. We follow strict protocols when disposing of amalgam as it is a hazardous waste. If you have concerns about your amalgam fillings and would prefer they were removed sooner rather than later, then please talk to one of our dentists about having them replaced.