Silver tooth fillings revisited

I take my son to the dentist. He reccomends amalgam fillings, says they last longer and cost less.

My wife trips, and says they are poison and lots of folks are having them removed, etc…

My son trips, and wants them changed.

I tell him, call some other dentists and see what they say.

2 say they recommend amalgam. 6 say they suggest not using it. When he asks the 6 why, they won’t comment???

He also sees on the net that Sweden has banned amalgam.

I see on the net medical studies that say amalgam is fine, and rants that say it’s terrible…

“are you being poisoned by ypur metal tooth fillings”

Cecil answered this question back when, but should it be revisited. Are the tides of public reverence for urban legends swaying these dentists, or is there a health problem here??? Consumers have to choose, or accept conflicting advice.


There is some additional information to be found in here:


and here:

Are silver fillings bad?

See if the info in there helps you any.

Okay, for once in my stay on this board I actually have some expertise to share.

I work for a dentist. He is one of those guys who researches EVERYTHING to the point where you want to smack him (although I love him dearly, I really do!) He has looked into this question IN DEPTH.

First of all, gold is the closest thing to tooth structure that we have on this earth. And, gold has NO mercury in it.

Second, amalgam is the next closest thing to natural tooth structure, in the way it behaves in your mouth.

Third, amalgam has NOT been banned in Sweden. That is an Urban Legend. And the documentation that came out of Sweden that LED to this Urban Legend was NOT scientifically supported. In fact, it was not even remotely supported by any legitimate research that was done around the same time.

Fourth,the Consumer Reports magazine looked into this question in depth, and their conclusion was that if your dentist tells you to replace your amalgam fillings with composite fillings, the thing you should hang onto is your wallet. They are scamming you. I agree with this assessment.

Fifth, composite fillings in teeth that are involved with the chewing process are inferior. There are not good enough materials to use in these teeth. They wear away, and “ditch”, and are abrasive to the opposing teeth. If you feel the need to have these fillings in your molars and pre-molars, please do yourself a favor and visit your dentist every six months without fail. Although, if you are seeing a dentist who advocates removing your amalgam fillings and placing composites, I question whether you are seeing an ethical dentist.


Thanks all for the excellent references and information on this subject. They reinforce and add to my opinions about this… At this point only one question remains for me personally.

Assuming amalgam is a technically sound, safe, and best solution, why did 6 of these 8 dentists suggest the weaker substance for initial fillings now? They weren’t advocating replacing amalgam, just not using it for new fillings. They were randomly sampled doctors of dental science. I suggested he make these calls when he first told me his(and his mother’s) concerns. I was very surprised at the results.

Not being willing to say why could lead a fearful person to speculate that these dentists fear legal reprisals for previous work they did. (lmao)

Several plausible motives occur to me:

  1. the environmental concerns about using mercury for anything(hard to put in perspective but I care alot about environmental concerns also), unlikely motive imo

  2. fear of patient reprisals(even unfounded accusations can be damaging and costly), a little more likely

  3. consession to public opinion. they may be “going with the flow”

  4. using the weaker material creates more repeat business.

Reading motives is a tricky business, imo, (unless you are on the PTA :). I realize a sample of 8 dentists is less than overwhelming, but I wish some dentist who is doing this would offer their explanation(possibly under the cover of anonymity if necessary).

The technical arguments seem very overwhelming, but it’s still amazing to me that my son could not extract an explanation out of any of the 6 dentists that don’t use amalgam anymore(unless asked to, I assume).

So, for me, a mystery remains. My son’s dentist is planning to redo 3 fillings with composite, at no additional cost(a very considerate gester, I think). Like 2 of my coworkers, his mouth will be “metal free”.

His right to decide for himself, I think, exceeds this issue(he’s 19 today), but I would love to find a way to persuade him before he does this. With all I have seen, his survey does still seem to me to be logical grounds for apprehension.

Again, many thanks to all.

Amalgam (and gold, nowadays) is not used where it will be visible. You haven’t mentioned this aspect.

You also haven’t described your conversations. It may be that you have six dentists who are saying to themselves, “Oh God, it’s another one of those anti-amalgam nuts. Fine, it’s no skin off my nose if I do him an inferior job because he insists on it; it’s his own stupid fault,” and two who are saying, “I will not knuckle under to ‘National Enquirer’ pseudo-science; if my patients want to be damn fools, let them go someplace else to be bilked.”

scotoma11 Before I accept your son’s account of his survey of 8 dentists, I would like to know how he got through to talk personally to these dentist. This is not intended to be a flippant remark. I truly want to know how he did his survey. Did he personally talk to 8 dentists, or did he talk to their receptionists in some cases? And what questions did he ask. What was the exact wording?

I just got off the phone with my dentist, who sounds like Scotticher’s dentist. He is not shy about telling it like it is and has been the president of the local dental society, is incredible bright, the head of the local Sierra Club(I throw this in as an aside to show that he, more than most, might be ultra-sensitive to such an issue as the amalgam controversy.

He personally uses amalgam for adults, and composite for kids, since the kids fillings don’t need to last as long. He said that today’s composite is much better than the crap they had 10-15 years ago, but has a life of about 5 years.

He said that the dentists who first started this controversy 15 years ago or so, got banned from the profession for their antics, went on talk shows to promote their concerns , and thus was born the controversy. (This may be covered is some of the links, which, I haven’t bothered to read yet. Sorry for responding without doing my homework.

If you could please respond to JWK’s questions and mine about how your son conducted the interviews, what questions he asked, to whom he talked, we might be able to better answer your OP.

My wife has 8 (yes eight) amalgam fillings. During a pregnancy 2 years ago, one was hurting and she went to the dentist to have the filling removed and replaced (dental care is free during pregnancy in the UK for standard procedures - not composite fillings).

He said he would not remove the existing amalgam filling because of concerns of the release of mercury into my wife and unborn child (he did not “prove” this to me). He said he would plug a cavity with amalgam if he did not have to drill out an existing amalgam filling or if there was an existing composite filling. His explanation? Modern amalgam is extremely stable if you leave it alone, but if you start monkeying around with it, then it releases mercury vapour into the body. Since it was our first pregnancy (paranoid about everything) we weren’t interested in “proof”, so she put clove oil on the tooth instead. (She had it replaced with a composite filling after the birth).

I asked the dentist about replacing my fillings, and he said he would do a couple at the same time, but he wouldn’t drill a whole mouthful of teeth containing amalgam at once due to his same concerns.