Is Mercury A Safe Component In Silver Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings have been used for centuries to treat cavities and restore the functionality of damaged teeth. However, with advancements in dental technology, the materials used for dental fillings have evolved. One material that has been the center of controversy for many years is silver amalgam fillings that contain mercury. While many dental professionals claim that mercury in silver fillings is safe, others argue that it can pose a health risk.

This blog post will examine the safety of mercury in silver dental fillings.

What are Silver Dental Fillings?

Silver dental fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, have been used for over 150 years. These fillings are a combination of several metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. Mercury makes up about 50% of the amalgam filling, and it is this component that has raised concerns about its safety.

Are Silver Dental Fillings Safe?

The safety of silver dental fillings has been a topic of debate for many years. The American Dental Association (ADA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintain that silver fillings are safe and effective for treating cavities. However, some people are concerned about the potential health risks associated with mercury exposure.

Mercury is a poisonous element that can damage the nervous system, kidneys, and brain. However, the amount of mercury released from silver fillings is extremely small, and the vast majority of people with amalgam fillings do not experience any adverse health effects.

According to the FDA, the amount of mercury released from amalgam fillings is not enough to cause harm in most people. In fact, the agency states that the benefits of using silver fillings to treat cavities outweigh the potential risks.

What are the Benefits of Silver Dental Fillings?

One of the main benefits of silver dental fillings is their durability. Amalgam fillings can last for up to 15 years or more, which makes them a cost-effective option for treating cavities. Silver fillings are also strong and can withstand the forces of chewing and biting.

Another benefit of silver fillings is that they are easy to place. Dental professionals can quickly and easily place silver fillings in a single visit. This makes them a convenient option for people who need to have cavities treated.

What are the Risks of Silver Dental Fillings?

One of the main risks associated with silver dental fillings is the potential for mercury exposure. When silver fillings are placed or removed, small amounts of mercury vapor can be released into the air. Inhaling this vapor can potentially cause harm, although the amount of mercury released is typically not enough to cause harm in most people.

Although allergic reactions to dental fillings are uncommon, some individuals may develop allergies to the metals used in silver fillings. In case you experience any symptoms such as swelling or a rash, it is important to immediately contact your dental professional for further evaluation and treatment.


In conclusion, while the safety of silver dental fillings containing mercury has been a topic of debate, they are still considered a safe and effective treatment option by the ADA and FDA. However, it is crucial to understand the potential risks and benefits of different types of dental fillings and to speak with your dental professional about your concerns.

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Q: Are there alternative materials to silver dental fillings?

A: Yes, there are alternative materials to silver dental fillings. One popular option is tooth-colored composite fillings, which are made of a mixture of plastic and glass. These fillings blend in with the natural color of your teeth, making them a popular choice for people who want a more aesthetically pleasing option. However, composite fillings are generally not as durable as silver fillings and may need to be replaced more frequently.

Q: How to know if I have silver dental fillings?

A: If you have had cavities filled in the past, there is a chance that you have silver dental fillings. You can ask your dental professional to check for you during your regular dental check-ups.

Q: Is it safe to have silver fillings removed?

A: The process of removing silver fillings can release small amounts of mercury vapor into the air, which can be inhaled. However, the risk of harm from mercury exposure during the removal process is very low. If you are concerned about the removal process, speak to your dental professionals.

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