For hundreds of years, people have been putting metal in their teeth to restore damage caused by tooth decay. But now we may be seeing the end of metal fillings. There are many reasons why metal fillings are in decline, and these are combining to mean that metal fillings may well be a thing of the past.
Here’s why metal fillings are going away, and why many people want to upgrade their fillings.
Gold Fillings Are Expensive
Gold was the first metal in widespread use as a filling material. It’s been used for hundreds of years in Europe, and it’s been used in the US since at least 1800. One problem with gold is its expense and its volatility. The price of gold has increased significantly in recent years. When we consider the price and the unattractiveness of gold fillings, they seem increasingly like a bad investment.
The high price of gold has always been an obstacle to its use, which is why metal amalgam fillings were developed in the mid-nineteenth century as an alternative. Unfortunately, they have their own problems.
Amalgam Is Toxic for the Body
Once they were introduced, there was an immediate controversy about the use of these fillings, which contain a significant amount of mercury–more than 50% by weight even in modern formulations.
Mercury is one of the most toxic elements on earth, and it leaves the fillings to enter the body. It evaporates and is inhaled. It is eroded by the motion of your teeth and swallowed. It migrates through the tooth to enter the blood.
The effect is that the levels of mercury in the body increase. If you have metal amalgam fillings, your mercury levels may you might see a 150% increase in blood mercury levels.
The toxicity of mercury is proven, and can result in brain and nerve damage, multiple organ failures, birth defects, and death.
Many officials in the US still insist that metal amalgam fillings are safe.
Amalgam Toxic for the Environment
But even while the FDA and the American Dental Association (ADA) insist that metal amalgam is safe in your mouth, there is growing concern that it’s not safe for the environment. New regulations have been proposed for dentists that handle metal amalgam in this country to ensure the toxic mercury doesn’t get released into the water. People are even concerned about the emissions of toxic mercury from crematoria, which make a significant contribution to the total levels of airborne mercury.
These concerns are shared by the international community, where a new treaty has been proposed to slowly phase out the use of mercury altogether, including metal amalgam fillings. It is being signed by dozens of countries, including the US.
People Are Choosing the Alternative
When you add together the expense, toxicity, and unattractiveness of metal fillings, it’s no wonder that they’re declining in popularity. Tooth-colored fillings aren’t just more attractive, they’re highly durable. Some even have a lower failure rate than metal amalgam fillings, so there’s no benefit to using metal amalgam fillings anymore.
As a result, most, if not all, people are choosing tooth-colored fillings.It’s quite likely that, in the near future, no one will have metal fillings.
Are Your Fillings a Relic of the Past?
If you still have metal fillings, they’re a conspicuous marker of your age, in addition to the fact that they are unattractive and unhealthy.
If you are tired of your metal fillings, we can replace them with more attractive tooth-colored fillings. Please call (907) 349-0022 today for an appointment with an Anchorage cosmetic dentist at Excellence in Dentistry.