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Friday, March 29, 2013

Dr. Oz at it again... Are your silver fillings making you sick?

Here we go again... with a debate that is 150 years old. Yep!  One hundred and fifty years old!  Dr. Oz had a show yesterday about silver fillings.  The implication was that silver fillings, which contain mercury (as a chemically-bound component), can cause illness.  This notion isn't new. But, it's never once been proven by any credible scientific studies.

I haven't used silver fillings at Palm Beach Smiles in at least 15 years.  A long time ago, I decided to use composite instead.  It's more conservative (requires less removal of healthy tooth structure) and it's certainly more cosmetically attractive.  Who wants silver fillings that end up turning black?  Today, most people want white fillings (which are not completely without risks, either, by the way).

Silver fillings replaced by composite.  Actual Palm Beach Smiles case.

Dr. Oz's show was sensationalistic, which is what TV is all about.   Furthermore, the premises and "guidelines" were completely without any scientific basis.  Yes... I realize that Dr. Oz is a famous TV celebrity (whose training is in cardio-thoracic surgery), and I'm "just a dentist."  But, I dare say that I know more about dentistry than he does.  I am an expert on dentistry.  He is not.   Of course, he could find some dentists to be on the show to support the premise.  But, that doesn't make their arguments any more scientific or based in fact.  The real facts contradict their assertions.

Actual Palm Beach Smiles case.

We dentists serve two masters: Science and business.  If we were to focus on business, we should WISH that silver amalgam fillings have been deemed harmful.  It would make us all VERY busy (and wealthy).

Finally, my point is that the scientist in me cannot endorse the categorical or routine removal of of silver amalgam in order to cure or prevent medical illness.  I do understand that some patients would like their silver fillings removed for cosmetic purposes.   And, I'm happy to do it... as long as patients know the risks.  Removing and replacing fillings can be traumatic to teeth.  This can lead to other issues down the road that may require root canal treatment or crown restorations.

If you'd like more information, you can click on my webpage:  Should I have my mercury-silver fillings removed?

Large fillings may need to be replaced with crowns.

If you have any questions about your silver fillings, give us a call at Palm Beach Smiles in Boynton Beach.