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Do I Need My Metal, Amalgam Fillings Replaced?

September 21, 2015

Filed under: Home Blog Listing,Sage Blog — Dr. Terry Batliner @ 5:39 pm

Dental amalgam is the metal that has been in used to repair cavities caused by tooth decay for over 150 years. It is a mixture of several metals, including mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal that has been determined to be toxic in some forms.

Replacement is unnecessary if in good condition

At Sage Dental Care, we do not fill teeth using amalgam. But we also do not recommend changing all the metal amalgam fillings in your mouth.  If the amalgam fillings are not cracked, broken, worn or unsightly they should be left in place. There have been many research studies examining amalgam. There has never been a legitimate scientific study linking amalgam fillings to diseases or mercury toxicity.  The material has been used for many years and is still used by some dentists. It is safe. We do not use amalgam for new fillings because it is an old approach. There are now more modern and esthetic resin composite filling materials that we use primarily because they look great, as they come in a color that closely resembles your natural teeth.

Don’t believe the hype

The fear of amalgam was popularized by a dentist named Huggins who lived in Colorado Springs. He developed a belief that amalgam led to mercury toxicity and caused many diseases such as MS and ALS. He treated many patients with these diseases and others by removing all their amalgam fillings and replacing them with materials that he believed were safe. The Colorado state board of dentistry, through legal actions, accused him of preying on people with serious diseases and he eventually lost his license to practice dentistry in the mid 1990s. However, the pseudoscience he popularized has remained. There are dentists around the country who tell people, contrary to any valid scientific evidence, that they must get their metal fillings replaced.

Research states they are safe

I am the associate director of the Center for Native Oral Health Research at the University of Colorado. I believe in evidence based clinical practice – that is using valid research to guide our clinical approach to treating various conditions. There is no evidence to support the routine removal of amalgam fillings. There is no evidence that amalgam fillings adversely affect your health or that removing them will improve your health. The American Dental Association, the FDA, and the European Commission are all on record stating the safety of amalgam fillings.  So, given the evidence, we replace amalgam fillings when they are cracked, broken, worn or unsightly and not because they are dangerous. They are not.

We are happy to answer questions

If you would like to know more, feel free to call us and make a free consultation appointment.  Our dental professionals will be happy to answer your questions and explain to you the Sage Dental Care approach to your dental health.  At Sage Dental Care, we only recommend treatment that is needed and will communicate to you in advance a treatment plan that works for you.

We accept most dental plans, but if you don’t have insurance, we offer our cost-saving Gloss Dental Discount Plan for you and your family.

We look forward to seeing you.

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