Are Old Metal Fillings Really Okay to Keep?

Metal fillings (also known as dental amalgam) have been used in dentistry for more than 100 years. Over the last several years, however, questions have raised about the safety of metal fillings. There are alternatives to metal fillings, but many of them can’t be used in the same situations. As a result, questions continue to arise regarding old metal tooth fillings and whether they are safe to keep if you’ve had them in your mouth for many years.

Health Risks

The main controversy surrounding metal fillings is the mercury they contain. We encounter mercury in various forms just by living and breathing, but it’s argued the mercury in fillings is more dangerous since they are always in your mouth. Researchers have concluded there’s no need to change fillings dentistry procedures to move away from dental amalgam, since there are no definite risks. The results have been challenged, which leads to an ongoing debate.

Other Options to Consider

There are some composite fillings that can be used in place of metal fillings. However, composite material can’t be used for every situation like metal can. Additionally, metal will last longer. Since it’s a stronger material, it will be able to handle the normal wear and tear of the pressure caused by chewing much better than composite fillings.

As more research becomes available, there may come a time where metal fillings are used much less or eliminated completely. Funding for this type of research will take time, however, so as of right now old metal fillings will be around for a while.

If you have a metal filling or two, don’t worry about any health risks. Just contact us for a regular dental examination and our skilled dentists will be able to detect any issues immediately.