Are Silver Fillings Safe?

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Silver fillings are made up of two halves; about one half mercury and the other a mix of a range of other types of metals. Although it is known that mercury is quite toxic to humans by itself, studies have found there is no conclusive dangers in using it in dental fillings. Silver fillings have been rapidly overtaken in popularity by a new breed of filling materials. Composite fillings are usually created from acrylic and glass particles, removing the need for mercury, this also allows them to be coloured to match the patients natural tooth shade. Composites have the added benefit of needing less tooth structure than their silver counterparts, meaning less natural tooth will be lost. Similarly, the composite material will harden quickly and you will be able to eat as normal by the time your procedure is over. However, the main drawback with composites is the extra expense required for the filling material. They are also not as resistant to staining as their silver counterparts and do not have the strength on the back teeth that silver fillings do.

Silver fillings provide an inexpensive alternative to composite fillings and due to their metal components, are able to withstand the daily pressures exerted by biting, making them excellent for the rear teeth. Numerous dental organisations have stated that silver fillings are safe to use however they are not recommended if you have a weakened immune system or a mercury allergy. Silver fillings can not be coloured to match your tooth and as such, are not usually used on the front teeth. Due to the metal expanding and contracting as the temperature varies, this can potentially lead to a fracture in the tooth.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »