Q: I've heard that the mercury in dental fillings could be harmful for me because I am pregnant. My dentist is planning to do two fillings next week. Is there any danger?
A: The controversy with dental amalgam fillings involves the possibility that the mercury contained in the fillings will give off harmful vapors over time. Recently, England's Department of Health recommended that dentists "avoid unnecessary placement or removal of dental amalgam during pregnancy." It is true that toxic levels of mercury have been linked to diseases of the immune and neurological systems, and can cause kidney disease.
With this in mind, the safety of dental amalgam has been extensively studied for many years. Research by the American Dental Association (ADA) in the United States and dental associations abroad have clearly demonstrated that no signs of mercury toxicity have been linked to dental amalgam. Dental amalgam has been used for more than 150 years and is considered safe and effective during pregnancy, or any other time.
There are also alternatives to amalgam fillings, namely the "white" resin fillings. These fillings usually require less drilling to prepare the cavity, have a strengthening effect on the tooth, and yield a much better cosmetic result. The disadvantage is that they generally cost 50-100 percent more than amalgam, and are often more time consuming to perform.
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