Reasons for Mercury Filling Removal

By Burton Gooch on November 05, 2020


illustration of a mercury filling removalRestorative dentistry can improve oral health while also improving the appearance of the smile of those with tooth decay. 

When it comes to treating tooth decay, restorative dentistry may be used to address previously filled cavities, specifically those that were treated with mercury fillings. At Gooch Family Dental, we offer mercury filling removal to patients in and around Birmingham, AL

Although not all mercury fillings need to be replaced, there are several reasons it may be necessary. Let's take a moment to review the reasons for mercury filling removal and some options for restoring the smile.

About Mercury Fillings

Mercury fillings are not entirely made of mercury but are a mixture of metals. Also called dental amalgam fillings, mercury fillings consist of about 50 percent mercury with the remaining 50 percent made of a mixture of silver, tin, and copper. 

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, exposure to mercury in dental fillings is believed to be harmless to most people, but some people may be more susceptible to adverse health effects, such as: 

  • Women who plan to become pregnant
  • Pregnant women and their developing babies
  • Nursing women and their infants
  • People with poor kidney function
  • People who are allergic to mercury or other metals used in dental amalgam
  • Young children

Why Remove Mercury Fillings?

Although most people will not experience health problems because of their mercury fillings, there are some circumstances in which it may be beneficial to remove them. Some reasons to remove mercury fillings in our Birmingham patients include:

  • Tooth decay has developed beneath the filling
  • The filling is cracked, deteriorated, or otherwise damaged
  • The filling has fallen out
  • The tooth itself is cracked or broken
  • An allergy or sensitivity to the amalgam filling has developed 

Replacement Options for Mercury Fillings

Once mercury fillings are removed, the tooth will need to be filled and treated with a restoration made of a different material to both protect and restore oral health. There are several options for replacing mercury fillings that are safe and effective. Possible replacement options include:

  • Tooth-colored fillings: Teeth that are relatively healthy and have small mercury fillings may be treated with tooth-colored fillings. Tooth-colored fillings can be made of porcelain, composite resin, or glass ionomer. 
  • Inlays and onlays: For those who would like to replace mercury fillings that are too large for repair with a tooth-colored filling but not severe enough for a dental crown, an inlay or onlay may be beneficial. Inlays and onlays may be made of porcelain, composite resin, or gold. 
  • Dental crowns: Teeth with significant decay and large mercury fillings or are cracked or broken cannot be treated with a new filling. Instead, the structure of the tooth may be restored with a dental crown. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped restorations that encase a damaged tooth, helping to restore its strength and appearance. They can be made of porcelain or gold. 

Find Out More about Mercury Filling Removal 

If you are concerned about your mercury fillings and would like to find out if removal is right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation at our Birmingham dental practice. Call us at (205) 545-8001 or schedule your appointment online. 

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