Dental amalgam is a common material that has been around for well over a century used to fill cavities. There are various metals used in amalgam, including silver, copper, and tin. Also used in amalgam is mercury, a known toxin. Amalgam has been in use for so long because it is so effective. It holds up well over decades, and is, frankly, less costly than some of the alternatives.

Concern over dental amalgam centers around the use of mercury. Mercury helps make the amalgam pliable and soft so that it can be pressed into the tooth. It also hardens quickly. Although mercury is toxic to humans and other living things, it occurs naturally in the environment. It can be a liquid or a gas, and can be combined with lots of other materials, as its presence in amalgam shows.

There are concerns about mercury in our food chain, especially fish, where it seems to concentrate due to pollution. While mercury exposure in low levels will not hurt, concentrations in higher levels can cause mercury poisoning. In dental amalgam, the amount of mercury used is very small. However, as the filling wears, that mercury can be released into the body. There have been many studies and lots of research performed on mercury in dental amalgam. The results are mixed and complex.

There are alternatives to dental amalgam these days. At her Burke, Virginia area cosmetic dental office, Dr. Pamela Marzban offers porcelain and white fillings for her patients instead of amalgam fillings. Beyond the safety issues that many of her patients are concerned with, Dr. Marzban uses porcelain and white fillings because they match the color of your natural teeth, and are extremely safe.

To find out more about the safety of your fillings in the Burke, Virginia area, please contact experienced cosmetic dentist Dr. Marzban to set up an initial consultation.