It is not uncommon for patients to ask if their silver fillings need to be replaced. I certainly can understand the concern. Ever since silver fillings came into existence, there has been debate about them within the dental community.
Yes, it is true that silver fillings contain the element mercury. However, when properly mixed, there is minimal if any free mercury. Within the United States, the dental community has not been offered solid proof that silver fillings cause harm. Yes, better materials exists now. However, this is not a reason alone to replace adequate silver fillings.
I often compare this silver filling argument with table salt. Why would I do that?
Table salt contains the elements of sodium and chorine. Pure sodium is explosive when exposed to water. We all know chlorine to be caustic and harmful when directly applied to the skin. However, when sodium and chlorine are mixed and processed in a certain way to create table salt, we eat it, we put in boiling water when cooking pasta, and we prepare our Thanksgiving turkeys with this table salt.
To me, this is a wonderful comparison. Functional and adequate silver fillings do not need to be removed.
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