“For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us apart….”
OOPS wrong vows!
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away (as in year 1841… now if you are not paying attention, that’s actually 183 years ago!!!) there were reports referring to the dangers of using mercury in dental fillings. So the actual warnings came out 183 years ago and yet here we are 183 years later doing what? Tick tock
There is an ongoing debate over dental amalgam safety and controversy over whether or not it should be used. “Supporters” say it’s safe, long-lasting, and ‘effective’ whatever that means. And critics hone in on the mercury safety or rather “un-safety”??? One of the first reports referring to the dangers of using mercury for dental fillings dates back to 1841! What??? None of us were even born yet!
So the first time someone said: “wait a minute, this s#$%! is NOT safe, in fact it’s toxic, that was like… 183 years ago!
There was no electricity, no running water, no central heating. People got their teeth extracted when they were super young because there were no other options. So when mercury came around as a material to fill teeth with and give them a few more years, nobody really cared… because, well, let’s face it, they were just going to take those teeth out sooner or later anyways. More like sooner. Plus, they didn’t live that long in those days anyways.
This was not meant to be life-long choice of restoration.
And now we are in 2024 and, and we, as dentists, are supposed to say what? All good, no worries, it’s safe to use. WHAT???
So here is the crazy thing… Amalgam fillings are still THE MOST COMMON dental material used in fillings to date. The main reason is: they are the least expensive. WHAT??? That’s the reason???
Next reason: they are “easy to put in”… as in a “monkey can do it”. Not to be a basher of my own profession but resin aka white fillings are way more technical and technique sensitive so sure, if you are looking for “easy”, I guess Mercury is the way to go.
Ok, next reason: “they last a long time”! OMG! Seriously. So let me tell you this. Every single time I remove one of these babies, soooooo much decay! They leak like a #@… (have to stop this). So sure, the filling lasts a long time but leaks like crazy and so the tooth breaks down. Kind of like if you had a leak in your house and the stuff that you used to seal it “lasted a long time held itself up” but leaked all around so your house was flooded and a mess. Not really a good reason to keep using the stuff is it?
But oopsie daisy
Don’t want to get in trouble cause well, we are all supposed to be sheep and say it’s all good.
So strong, stronger than teeth…
The metals in the amalgam fillings contract and expand all the time with any temperature changes. Hot coffee? Then cold drink with ice. Yikes! Teeth don’t expand and contract so what do you think happens over time? Of course, the tooth develops a crack! If they are so safe, why do I need to pay a separate company to come in hazmat suits to remove it from my office and I can’t just dump it in the garbage, or the water supply, or even let the suction take it to wherever everything else goes??? Because, my friends, maybe just maybe we finally figured it out that it’s not that safe and it really needs to go. Especially when there are so many other ways to restore teeth that don’t need the use of one of the most toxic elements known to us.
Bottom line is this: as a dental professional, I have to be careful what I say. So I am only going to say this: every single time I remove an old dental mercury amalgam filling, I am blown away by the amount of crap, decay, disease, necrotic tissue, that hides behind its silver walls that are covered in corroded metal against tooth structure. And the worst part is, there is more. The fractures, crack lines, and leakage that I see from its “strength” that overpowers enamel and dentin is sad because, ultimately, the solution involves root canal treatment, crowns, or even tooth loss.
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