Silver-colored fillings are so common you might not have even thought twice about getting them. However, the frequent use of these fillings by some dentists often masks an unpleasant surprise: they contain a potentially dangerous ingredient called mercury.
Having mercury fillings doesn’t always cause adverse health effects, but in some cases, they can be harmful and cause problems throughout your body. Holistic dentist Alireza Panahpour, DDS, from The Systemic Dentist in Los Angeles, California, explains why mercury is bad for your teeth and when you should consider getting mercury fillings removed.
What is mercury?
Mercury is an element that occurs naturally in the crust of the earth. Along with amalgam (silver-colored) dental fillings, you can find mercury in several household items, including thermometers, batteries, and lamps.
When exposed in small, occasional amounts, mercury isn’t typically dangerous to healthy people. Prolonged exposure or exposure to high levels of mercury can be toxic and cause health problems.
In the past, silver amalgam tooth fillings containing mercury were common because they’re very durable and inexpensive. They’re still used today by some dentists.
Why can mercury fillings cause teeth problems?
There are a few different reasons mercury-containing amalgam fillings can cause long-term damage to your teeth and overall health. These include:
Having amalgam fillings for many years
The longer you have mercury fillings, the more at risk you are for experiencing health problems from mercury exposure. This is because decades of having amalgam fillings mean you’ve been exposed to mercury for long periods, potentially leading to associated health problems.
Mercury being released from your fillings
If your fillings release any mercury, it can go right into your bloodstream, causing the potential for adverse health problems. You’re at particular risk of this happening if you have bruxism, meaning you grind your teeth,
You can also have mercury come out of your fillings from drinking hot liquids or chewing hard foods.
You have health issues mercury fillings can make worse
If you have some health conditions, having mercury fillings puts you at risk of exacerbating them. These conditions include cardiovascular problems, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, hearing loss, and autoimmune disorders.
What problems do mercury fillings cause?
Mercury fillings have the potential to cause various health conditions. You might be dealing with mercury-related medical issues if you have at least one amalgam filling and are experiencing these symptoms:
- Problems with your memory
- Depression or other mood changes
- Chronic fatigue
- Hearing or vision loss
- Kidney or liver issues
You might also consider mercury poisoning if you’ve been diagnosed with an otherwise unexplained health problem.
What should I do if I have fillings with mercury?
You don’t necessarily need to have fillings containing mercury removed. If they aren’t currently causing any symptoms or health problems, it’s safer to leave them intact.
However, if your fillings are causing problems, removing them is the safest option. If Dr. Panahpur determines you would benefit from mercury removal, he carefully removes your amalgam fillings and replaces them with a safer alternative.
If you’ve been having problems with your health and have mercury fillings, it might be time to consider removal. To start the process, call 310-986-6001 to make an appointment.