I was told I have decay and in need a filling in one of my back tooth and the dentist wants to place a silver one. Are silver fillings safe?
Silver fillings (Amalgams), contain about 50% mercury and 50% of various other metals (e.g. silver, tin, copper). While there have been no conclusive studies relating the mercury in amalgam to any dangers, mercury by itself is very toxic.
With the introduction of new tooth coloured filling materials, silver fillings are not used as often as they were once. Recently, its popularity has diminished and over 70% of all dental fillings today are done with resin or composite materials (tooth coloured).
In 2008, the use of dental amalgam was banned in Norway, Sweden and Finland, and a committee of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refused to ratify assertions of safety.
In the 1990s, several governments evaluated the effects of dental amalgam and concluded that the most likely health effects would be due to hypersensitivity or allergy. Germany, Austria, and Canada recommended against placing amalgam in certain individuals such as pregnant women, children, those with renal dysfunction, and those with an allergy to metals. There is strong evidence that a certain percentage of lichenoid lesions are caused by amalgam fillings.
In light of this recent information, the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) still does not recommend having amalgam fillings removed and The American Dental Association continues to stand their ground that amalgam is a safe and durable filling material.