The dental amalgam
is one of the most controversial subjects in today's dentistry. The controversy mainly refers to amalgam because
it contains the well known toxic element mercury. Dentists who advocate the use of amalgam point out that it is durable
cheap, safe, and easy to use. The opposing party for use of amalgam claim that mercury content in amalgam may be associated
with constant mercury exposure, particularly as a potential cause of chronic illnesses, autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative
diseases, birth defects, oral lesions, and mental disorders. Different studies vary very widely in the conclusions. Some countries,
such as Norway, Denmark and Sweden has banned the use of dental amalgams, while it is still widely used in other countries.
ADA (American Dental Association) still states that it is safe to use. Furthermore, in its advisory opinion
to Rule 5.A. of the ADA Code of Ethics, it has also held that, "the
removal of amalgam restorations from the non-allergic patient for
the alleged purpose of removing toxic substances from the body, when such treatment is performed solely at the recommendation
or suggestion of the dentist, is improper and unethical".
This ruling has put a lot dentists opposing
the amalgam fillings into difficult situation.
Because we did not do our own study, we would not state
our opinion on the safety of this product and let each patient decide for themselves. Putting the safety factor aside, there
are still many disadvantages of the amalgam fillings. These amalgam fillings have a substantially higher degree of thermo-expansion
than that of the tooth. What that means is, drinking hot coffee or cold soda would make tooth and the filling expand differently,
which will eventually lead to a gap between the tooth and the filling( pot-hole effect). This gap is a pathway for food and
bacteria to invade the tooth and cause it to decay around the filling (secondary decay). It also means that if the filling
is large, its expansion could cause a lot of stress on the remaining walls of the tooth, and in many cases the walls of the
tooth can break off. Another big disadvantage of amalgams is its color: it not only looks grey, and gets
darker with age, it also shines through the thin walls of the tooth. Sometimes, amalgams cause dark spots
on the tissues of the mouth called amalgam tattoos.
|Teeth restored with amalgam fillings