Replacing silver mercury fillings is something that is now done routinely.
Dental amalgam is used to repair cavities caused by tooth decay. It’s not new. Dentists a century and a half ago were using it. About half of amalgam is made of mercury, the rest from other metals such as silver and tin. Dentists say it is the strongest, cheapest and longest-lasting filling in the business. The NHS won’t pay for back teeth to be filled with anything else. But in the past 20 years mercury has been identified as an environmental hazard and linked to Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney and brain damage.
Two months ago the Minamata Convention on mercury, a treaty agreed by the UN Environmental Programme, committed itself to reducing mercury use worldwide, including in dentistry. Should you worry about having a mouthful of mercury?
No mainstream dental organisations recommend you replace your amalgam fillings as long as they are in good condition and there is no decay beneath them. But there are certain things you should be aware of to make your decision.