All About Amalgam Fillings: Are They Safe? Should You Have Them Removed?

Do you have a cavity that requires filling? Your dental professional might employ a dental amalgam filling to seal it up and put a stop to the decay. You might have heard a lot about amalgam fillings containing mercury and you might be wondering if it is safe to put in your mouth. Do not fret – we are here to assist you by answering some of the questions that are affecting you about dental amalgam fillings and their safety.

Image illustrating a patient getting a dental filling.

Amalgam Fillings: What Are They And What’s In Them?

Amalgam fillings are created from a combination of silver, tin, copper, and mercury. Mercury, the third most toxic ingredient known to humans, is estimated to be 50% of the full metals in amalgam fillings. The problem with mercury is that it has a special ability to alter its form, between solid, liquid, and vapor, and it can leak out of amalgam fillings. This occurs due to the friction of teeth grinding and chewing, as well as drinking hot liquids, which erode the integrity of the amalgam fillings and release mercury.

After it has been released from the amalgam filling, the mercury will be absorbed by the mucosal tissue, such as the lungs, gut, or gums. Once it has been absorbed by mucosal tissue, the mercury makes its way to the bloodstream, traveling then to vital organs such as the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys. In some other cases, it can even travel to the bones. Practically, wherever blood goes, mercury can go too. Mercury poisoning is related to approximately 250 signs, among which, the most common are kidney dysfunction, fatigue, and depression. 

Is Dental Amalgam Safe?

Dental amalgam fillings might produce tiny amounts of mercury in the form of gas (vapor), based on the age and number of the present fillings, and actions like tooth grinding and gum chewing. Whenever a fresh amalgam filling is positioned or an old filling is removed, individuals and healthcare professionals might experience a temporary rise in exposure to mercury gas. Whilst there is no knowledge of health risks related to swallowing or ingesting small particles of dental amalgam, breathing in or inhaling mercury gas can be damaging in some patients.

Typically, individuals who have multiple dental amalgam fillings might have a little higher mercury levels in their urine, or blood, yet, they normally sustain their considerably safe level. Data and research done on people with dental amalgams do not show any conclusive proof that dental amalgam fillings lead to damaging health effects in the general population.

Image illustrating a dental filling procedure.

Who Should Be Concerned About Dental Amalgam?

Some individuals, including currently pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant, children (particularly those under the age of six years old), nursing mothers, people with neurological impairment or kidney dysfunction, people with a well-known allergy to mercury, and ultimately might be much more vulnerable to the side effects of mercury exposure from dental amalgam fillings, and they might be much more at risk for adverse health effects. There isn’t much information known about the possible health effects of mercury gas or vapor exposure from dental amalgam fillings on these groups of people, however. Thus, if you are among these people who are in high-risk populations and require new fillings, the FDA recommendation is for you to avoid dental amalgam fillings if appropriate and possible. Have a discussion with your dental practitioner about your health anamnesis (history) and other accessible treatment alternatives for fillings.

  • Women who are currently pregnant or are planning on getting pregnant. The placement of brand-new amalgam fillings in a pregnant woman might lead to very high and transient spikes of mercury exposure to both the mother and the fetus. Certain research and studies have shown that there is a relationship built between the mercury levels in the umbilical cord blood and the number of amalgam fillings a mother has. The results from the same studies did not however identify any connection with damaging health effects, yet, keep in mind that the data is quite limited.
  • Nursing mothers. Typically, the amount of mercury found in breast milk is low. Some studies have however stated that there is an association between the amount of mercury in breast milk and the number of dental amalgam fillings a mother has. This very little, limited research performed in order to establish the probable damage to children and infants exposed to dental amalgam mercury as a consequence of breastfeeding did not identify any absolute relationship with damaging health effects.
  • Children, particularly those under six years old. Clinical studies in children aged six and older have yet to find an absolute relation between the use of dental amalgam fillings and damaging health effects. Research on children under six years old has been quite limited. Yet, scientists believe that the developing neurological systems of children might be specifically sensitive to exposure to mercury gas (vapor).
  • People allergic or hypersensitive to mercury or any other component in dental amalgam fillings. Certain people might have an allergy or hypersensitivity to mercury and some other components including zinc, tin, copper, or even silver- which are all a part of dental amalgam fillings, and they might report or suffer from some health effects such as oral ulcers or allergic reactions, alongside more generalized indications, following the placement of an amalgam filling.
  • People experiencing kidney dysfunctions or neurological impairment. Research and data have shown that mercury is positioned in some tissues of the body such as the kidneys and brain. However, it should be noted that there is very limited clinical information available about the probable health effects of mercury vapor exposure on these individuals who are already suffering from neurological impairments and/ or kidney disorders.
Image illustrating a patient getting an amalgam filling removed.

Should Dental Amalgam Fillings Be Removed?

If you have a dental filling in good condition and your health care professional or dental practitioner lets you know that there is no decay present beneath the filling, it is not recommended to remove your amalgam filling. This is due to the fact that the removal of intact amalgam fillings can lead to unnecessary loss of healthy tooth structure and possibly even expose you to a temporary rise in mercury vapor generated during the removal procedure. In Layman’s terms, no intact amalgam filling should be removed, from anyone, including people who are at a higher risk like pregnant or nursing mothers or children, for the purpose of preventing any medical condition- unless, the removal is considered medically necessary by a healthcare professional. If you are suffering from a medical condition (particularly allergy or sensitivity to mercury, or a neurological or kidney disease), you must discuss with your dental practitioner the need for removal and replacement.

The Side Effects Of Removing Amalgam Fillings

In excess, the removal of amalgam fillings does present risks and complications of its own. If the removal isn’t conducted correctly, it can lead to numerous side effects that will wreak health disorders.

Among the most common side effects of amalgam fillings removal is an increased exposure to mercury poisoning, an upset nervous system, and an upset immune system. Furthermore, there is a risk of mercury tattoos and a burning mouth sensation. Ultimately amalgam fillings can lead to the creation of some medical conditions because of secondary immune response.

Safe Removal Of Amalgam Fillings

To soften or lighten the risk of side effects, a safe removal of amalgam fillings is required. Please note that not all dental practitioners use the same approach to removing amalgam fillings. As a matter of fact, the majority of dentists lack the mandatory knowledge to safely remove amalgam fillings and they end up picking the wrong path. Such action will expose their patients to the above-mentioned side effects and health risks. That’s what we call doing the right thing, but the wrong way. This is due to the fact that the removal of amalgam fillings safely is far more complicated than you might think- it is not just a matter of removing amalgam fillings. To comprehend the removal of amalgam fillings safely, you must keep in mind the following factors.

Respecting The 7-14-21 Day Immune Cycle

As per the 7-14-21 day immune cycle, the immune system is at its weakest points during the 7th, 14, and 21st days after the amalgam filling removal. This is because there are natural fluctuations in the inflammatory markers and there is a turnover of the white blood cells. The avoidance of secondary, third, or even fourth treatments on these specific days will ensure the safe removal of amalgam fillings. While, on the contrary, the removal of amalgam fillings when the immune system is at its lowest oftentimes causes health implications.

Image illustrating a dental filling removal procedure.

It Is Better To Remove All Amalgam Fillings Within One Month

Having said this, it should also be noted that the best time to remove all amalgam fillings is within one period. An astounding amalgam removal over a longer period than a month can lead to a secondary immune response. Studies have shown that patients who have had their fillings removed within a month’s time frame have achieved much better results than those who have opted to do the same but over a longer time. We have observed the difference between ourselves with our patients through blood chemistry. Again, to have a safe removal of amalgam fillings you must make it happen all within a month.

Detoxification Before, During, And After Amalgam Removal

Remembering that whenever amalgam fillings are removed, the removal itself will be pointless if you fail to excrete the mercury gathered in the body, is of utmost importance. Gathered mercury is a much bigger danger than that contained in the amalgam as it can spread through the body, much long after the amalgam filling has been removed. As a matter of fact, when the dental practitioner only removes the infected tooth or amalgam filling and does nothing more, patients have a high chance of ending up with an autoimmune disease that it’s unlikely they had before. Therefore, the safe removal of amalgam filling must additionally include protocols for ridding the body of its mercury presence. 

Total Dental Revision: The Best Way To Remove Amalgam Fillings

At Dr. Roland Zhuka, amalgam fillings removal is conducted in conjunction with the dental revision program, customized to offer extra detoxification and dietary support for patients. We are big believers in the fact that amalgam removal isn’t simply about removing amalgams, it is about reaching long-lasting health. Our dental revision program, in abidance with the principles of holistic health, is thoroughly focused on treating the cause rather than the symptoms. It is a program that is largely about easing proper immune functionality and making sure that patients can completely recover and achieve their true health.

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