New research recommends white tooth filling. But is it right?
It’s a debate that has been raging for almost 200-years, ever since mercury fillings became popular in the 1830s. Properly called amalgam and sometimes referred to as silver fillings, these have been the standard method of filling cavities in teeth and the mainstream medical thinking is that they exude such tiny amounts of mercury vapour that it does not affect us. Last week, however, the NHS introduced new rules for dentists restricting the use of mercury fillings for children under 15, pregnant women and new mums. Researchers also warned that amalgam fillings could leak increased amounts of mercury vapour when exposed to new, more powerful MRI scans. So, mercury or white tooth filling? What is the conclusion?
To be honest, at Carisbrook we have been phasing out mercury fillings in favour of white tooth filling for quite some time. Mainly, it has to be said, that this has been for cosmetic reasons. White fillings look better because they are almost unnoticeable and they are certainly far more appealing than the dark mercury fillings.
The fact is that over the 180 years that mercury fillings have been in use there is no real evidence that they present any serious health risks. On the other hand, there is no real evidence to show that they don’t!
Obviously new MRI technology could affect that situation and there is also further evidence to show that with a rise in the number of cremations greater amounts of mercury vapour are now being released into the atmosphere.
So while there is still very little evidence that confirms the actual dangers of mercury fillings and the British Dental Association (BDA) is adamant that they pose no risk to patients, other health authorities are now erring on the side of caution in demanding the switch to white tooth filling, especially for vulnerable groups.
As we mentioned earlier, At Carisbrook we do prefer to use white tooth filling instead of amalgam, although it has to be said that white fillings are still not ideally suitable for large cavities or where cavities are in difficult to reach teeth. Nevertheless, there are still highly acceptable alternatives to mercury fillings that we recommend in these circumstances – such as inlays and crowns that we use to repair and protect damaged teeth.
Our advice if you do have mercury fillings is that you shouldn’t be too worried by this latest news, although we often recommend changing them to white tooth filling simply because white fillings look so much better. They help to produce a lovely attractive smile and because of that patients tend to gain so much more self-confidence and assurance.
If you are at all concerned about mercury fillings and you would like to discuss with specialist Dentist Manchester that how we can swap them for more attractive white fillings, or if you would like to know more about the benefits of inlays and crowns to protect damaged teeth, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can call us on 0161 951 7295 or you can contact us by using the online booking form on our Appointments page.