How Dental Amalgam Affects the Environment

Amalgam fillings have been a part of the dental world for decades to repair tooth decay. These fillings are known as “silver” or “metal” fillings, and many adults have amalgam fillings, but did you know that the composition of amalgam consists of approximately 50 percent mercury?

Mercury already exists naturally in the environment but, in the past few centuries, our use of mercury and its compounds in industrial production has led to a significant increase of mercury waste in the environment.

The mercury in dental fillings has the potential to leech into the soil, atmosphere, surface water and ground water. This can occur from the cremation or burial of individuals who had amalgam dental work in their mouths, or in wastewater discharges from dental offices that use amalgam fillings. How is this a concern for you? After all, isn’t water treated before it reaches our faucets? Although that may be the case, it is how the mercury affects the other living organisms that rely on the contaminated water that is the concern.

The accumulation of mercury in water is of particular concern, because of the potential accumulation of methylmercury. An organic form of mercury, methylmercury can build up in significant concentrations in fish and other aquatic organisms, which increases the risk of exposure for people—or any animal that eats fish. Exposure to mercury can be harmful to humans and result in immunological, psychological, or neurological problems—especially for children.

The office of Scott Young, DDS, prides itself on maintaining a metal-free dental practice. This protects both our patients and the environment. All of the restorative materials used in our office are made of composite material that is safe, durable and can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.

Want to learn more or have questions? Call our office at 832-610-3123 to schedule a consultation to discuss your options for metal-free dental treatments.

Scott Young, DDS is proud to serve patients in the areas of The Woodlands and Houston, TX.

Author
Dr. Scott Young, DDS

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