I have been considering taking my son to a mercury-free dentist. I feel a bit torn because my fillings are still standing and I have had them for over 20 years and they are the silver, amalgam type. That said, I don’t want to expose my son to mercury if I don’t have to. Any advice on the subject? If I decide to see a mercury-free dentist, the down side is it will be a new dentist. He likes our family dentist and I don’t want him to be nervous either. Can you tell me the benefits of going to a mercury-free practice? Is it worth it?
-Jan in Minnesota
The American Dental Association, the Food and Drug Administration, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry still stand behind the claim that mercury-free fillings are completely safe. But, we all know the health dangers of mercury. The main question is that if there is another alternative that functions just as well, then why not go with the mercury-free option?
How certain are you that you need to switch dentists? Almost all dentists offer white composite fillings as an alternative which are completely mercury-free. There are many benefits of choosing a mercury-free dentist. They are actually stronger than amalgam fillings, less of the natural tooth structure is removed and they are tooth-colored so they blend in with the surrounding teeth. So before you make the decision to switch, ask your dentist about the options available to your son at your existing practice.
Sometimes pediatric dentists still prefer to place amalgam fillings on children. This is mainly due to the fact that the child must sit completely still during the procedure and the area must dry completely in order for the bond to be successful. So if your dentist won’t work with you on this, you may need to consider moving to a new mercury-free dentist if that is the route you decide to go. Sedation dentistry or what pediatric dentists like to refer to as “goofy gas” (nitrous oxide) will help keep your son relaxed and help keep him still in the chair. Pediatric dentists also do a lot to help keep children engaged, calm and they often have movies to distract children during appointments and this may be a successful approach to pursue the tooth-colored, mercury-free fillings.
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.