Metal fillings have been used for hundreds of years in the US, but that may be coming to an end. Whether we’re talking about gold fillings or metal amalgam, this may be the last generation to ever have metal fillings. Here’s why.
Some Are Expensive
There are two main materials used for metal fillings. Gold fillings have been used for a very long time, hundreds of years in Europe and at least since 1800 in the US. But recently gold fillings have become too expensive for most people to invest in them. The price of gold has increased significantly in recent years, which, when combined with other disadvantages, just makes them not worth the cost.
In the mid-19th century, we developed a cheaper alternative to gold fillings: metal amalgam. But metal amalgam fillings have their own problems.
Toxic for the Body
Metal amalgam fillings were the most common fillings for over a century after they became popular. These fillings are inexpensive and durable, but they have other costs, such as their toxicity.
Metal amalgam fillings are made up with a mixture of metals, including mercury, one of the most toxic elements on earth. We have known for a long time that mercury doesn’t stay in fillings, but can evaporate or seep through teeth to enter the body. This can lead to an increase in mercury levels in the body and urine. Now a new study confirms that mercury fillings can increase the mercury levels in blood by about 150%. It also shows that mercury increases the levels of toxic methylmercury, not just the less toxic elemental mercury that is put in the fillings.
Mercury toxicity can cause acute neurological damage, leading to multiple organ failures, birth defects, and even death, although until now authorities have maintained that metal amalgam fillings are safe.
Toxic for the Environment
Another major concern that is leading to the abandonment of metal amalgam fillings is concern that toxic mercury is entering the environment because of metal amalgam fillings. New regulations to keep dentists from polluting the environment with mercury have been proposed. And some people have expressed concerns about the impact of mercury emitted from crematoria.
An international treaty aims to eliminate most or all sources of mercury in order to protect our environment, including metal amalgam fillings.
Metal Fillings Are Unattractive
But one of the most important reasons why people are giving up metal amalgam fillings is that they’re just not very attractive. Nobody wants to advertise that they have tooth decay and that their smile is unhealthy. In particular, metal amalgam fillings that have turned black look as bad as or worse than the cavities they filled.
With new tooth-colored fillings options, people realize they can have a smile that’s both healthy and attractive, even if they’ve developed cavities. Once people realized that, they knew they didn’t want metal fillings anymore.
Consign Your Metal Fillings to the Past
If you are a member of the last generation who has received metal fillings, but you don’t want to have your age marked by them, we can help. We can remove your metal fillings and replace them with attractive and durable tooth-colored fillings.
To learn more, please call (912) 234-8282 today for an appointment with a Savannah cosmetic dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.