Doctor OZ Mercury Vapor From Amalgam Fillings (P3)

Daniel Vinograd

Dr. Oz:                                   We made the case that mercury in your fillings could be toxic and harmful to your health. So these are the question that everyone watching should be asking: “Should you have your mercury fillings taken out?”

Dr. Jonathan Levine and Dr. Gerry Curatola are back with us. So Dr. Levine, what’s your view? Should everyone go out there and start getting their amalgams taken out?

Dr. Levine:                            Absolutely not. I mean it’s all about the conversation that you’re going to have with your dentist. If your restorations are old, there is potential decay underneath, the dentist has found out that there’s decay under a radiograph, there’s a space or a gap between the silver and the tooth, and there’s structurally something wrong with the fillings, well then there’s a rationale to change that filling. But when you’re putting the material back in to restore, we really have better alternatives than amalgam that are safe.

Dr. Oz:                                   Dr. Curatola, do you agree?

Dr. Curatola:                         I totally agree. What everyone should know is that taking the fillings out also exposes you to the highest level of mercury vapor. There are specific conditions that you should talk to your dentist about.

Obviously, number one is decay, leaking margins, corrosion on old fillings. And then there are the others. If they have eight or more fillings, they might want to have that conversation. They grind their teeth, they eat acidic foods, some of these things like that can increase the amount of vapor that’s being emitted from the amalgam fillings.

Dr. Oz:                                   Dr. Levine, what are the best alternatives when you get that mercury amalgam removed or if you have a cavity instead of using your mercury amalgam?

Dr. Levine:                            So if you’re taking out the silver filling, the direct restoratives composite—which are tooth-colored restorative materials—is using adhesive dentistry. And you’re actually bonding the tooth together so the tooth is actually stronger.

With silver, it’s a wedge technique and you’re actually putting stresses on the tooth. So using composites doesn’t have any potential health risks, and it’s actually a better material.

There’s also laboratory-fabricated restorations that can be done in porcelain and these new ceramics that allow us to do a very conservative tooth preparation, but also to restore the tooth and to structurally improve the tooth. So that again is a big advantage.

Dr. Oz:                                   Here’s an example for everybody who doesn’t know what these are. This is a porcelain restored tooth compared to a silver filling. You can see how the silver is sort of pushing the tooth apart, and the porcelain pulls it back together again.

I would gather that part of this debate is about money and the fact that these amalgams are a lot less expensive. So walk me through the cost differences for the average consumer.

Dr. Levine:                            So, for the composite resins, they’re about 20% to 25% more expensive than the silver fillings. For the laboratory process type restoration where you’re taking an impression of the tooth and you’re fabricating in the lab, and then a second appointment to cement and to bond them in, it usually can be anywhere from $1500 to even greater depending on where you live.

Dr. Oz:                                   So, money is an issue. Let me leave you all with my bottom line. I believe based on what we know about the toxicity of mercury, and the risks from mercury vapors from the fillings that contain it, that we should avoid using dental amalgams whenever possible. There are safer alternatives that works as well and lasts just as long.

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Dr. Daniel Vinograd, DDS |
10450 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92120 |
Phone: 619-630-7174    •    Dr. Vinograd, DDS, is a Dentist in San Diego, CA, offering services as a periodontist, and providing teeth whitening, dental crowns, invisalign, implants, lumineers, dentures, root canals, holistic, family and cosmetic dentistry.


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