Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?

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Kenny Hackett, Communications Director –West Paces Ferry Orthodontics

By:  Kenny Hackett

As the communications director of West Paces Ferry Orthodontics, it is my responsibility to manage our blog and social media presence.  Part of that job includes reviewing and vetting articles a service sends to me to possibly share with you, our audience.  Yesterday I was sent an article on a controversial subject.  The safety of Amalgam fillings.  The article shared an opinion that is in opposition to my own, but as the editor in chief of our publication efforts, I try to be open minded to views other than my own.  My hope was that a colleague would address the article and a dialog would result, and my further intention was to post an article today expressing the opposing view.  I was not disappointed.  I decided to take today’s response a step further by writing an editorial regarding the safety of amalgam myself.

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Dr. Nanci Lubell, The Right Smile Center. Picture courtesy of www.rightsmilecenter.com.

Dr. Nancy Lubell, of The Right Smile Center, had this to say on the subject  “Amalgam has been tested by numerous organizations over the decades and not one well executed scientific study done by dental, MS, Alzheimers, WHO, FDA, or other organizations has been able to link amalgam to the wide array of diseases, disorders, symptoms, etc., claimed to be caused by it. I have not placed an amalgam in over a decade, but not because of mercury.’  Dr. Lubell continued, “Before dentists wore gloves and masks, there was no higher incidence in any of these conditions among dentists vs. the general population. Mercury vapor is highest at placement and removal of amalgams. It would be logical to assume those of us who breathed this all day before masks would be affected. I don’t argue with patients who request that their amalgams be replaced, but I don’t perpetuate this sensationalism.”

Further research found that the American Dental Association held that “Dental amalgam is considered a safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans. It contains a mixture of metals such as silver, copper, and tin, in addition to mercury, which binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively and has established a record of safety and effectiveness.”

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An amalgam filling commonly referred to as a “silver” filling.

No one is disputing that Mercury is an ingredient in amalgam, but one must understand that is not dangerous as the mercury in amalgam is what scientist refer to as a bound chemical.  Quackwatch.com explains: “Mercury is a component of the amalgam used for “silver” fillings. The other major ingredients are silver, tin, copper, and zinc. When mixed, these elements bond to form a strong, stable substance. The difference between bound and unbound chemicals can be illustrated by a simple analogy. Elemental hydrogen is an explosive gas. Elemental oxygen is a gas that supports combustion. When combined, however, they form water, which has neither of these effects. Amalgam’s ingredients are tightly bonded to each other. Although the types of chemical bonds in water and amalgam differ, saying that amalgam will poison you is just as wrong as saying that drinking water will make you explode and burst into flames.”

The conclusion I have come to after looking at the information available on this subject is that your best and safest course of action with this and other issues regarding your teeth and your health is to ask your dentist!  There is so much information available on the internet that it becomes tough to divine truth from fiction.  Your dentist, on the other hand, has very specialized and thorough education regarding your health.  When in doubt ask your dentist!  We are always happy to answer your questions at West Paces Ferry Orthodontics!  Are there any dental topics you have that you would like us to look into?  Ask us in the comment section!

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