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Old 11-22-2016, 09:39 PM   #21
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I've never had a dentist recommend replacing amalgam fillings, only ones preferring them where the color would not be an issue. I think they are stronger and more durable.
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:08 PM   #22
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I'm just now having mine replaced. They developed small cracks and as someone mentioned I didn't want problems later on with stuff getting underneath the filling
This was pretty much the case for me as well. I don't know if they are mercury but the dentist showed me on the xrays that they were not sealed and they are getting replaced at the first sign of a potential problem. I was surprised and disappointed to learn that fillings don't last forever since I have so many of them.
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:05 AM   #23
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Most of them have been replaced. The ones I have left are probably more than 30 years old, and when they start showing clear signs of deteriorating, out they go -- but not so much because of the mercury aspect, but because I don't want bacteria getting down through the cracks in the filling and causing problems which could eventually result in a root canal and a crown. That it gets rid of mercury in my mouth is a bonus. A new filling is a LOT cheaper and a lot less painful than all that.
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:24 AM   #24
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Did mine over a 5 year period, but it wasn't a conscious choice to replace mercury fillings. It was because I had had them since I was a teen and they were wearing out (curling along the edges). As they wore out, he replaced them with new material. Regardless, they look better than the mercury ones did, anyway. More "tooth-like". Not that anybody I know has ever asked me to show them my molars. :-)
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:12 AM   #25
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But I've seen on the internet that the mercury will .....
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:52 AM   #26
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Like others, I had plenty of amalgam fillings from the old days but I suspect they're all gone now. Between root canals, a few extractions, bridges, and implants, most of the teeth that were filled in the 1960s have been re-worked.

I hadn't thought about the health and environmental issues but, now that it's been mentioned, that WOULD be a hazard for the dentist and his/her staff every time a mercury filling is replaced, even when it's required because it's deteriorating or there's decay under it.
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:53 AM   #27
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But I've seen on the internet that the mercury will .....
It's a fact! A lot of people with mercury fillings have died.
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Old 11-23-2016, 09:35 AM   #28
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My experience is a little different. Had sinus and allergy problems for
years. Had to get serious about fixing problem. Doctors said my immune
system was weak do the mercury poisoning. Had a mouth full of fillings.
Had them all removed 20 years ago. Only had 1 or 2 sinus/allergy issues since.
Was very expensive but worth every penny.
B
As a retired dentist I was steering away from this thread, but your experience touches on what I was going to share, so I will.

Did you have your body's Hg levels measured before and after the procedures?
If you did, and they dropped, then you have at least some reason to believe it was causal, in nature, and not just some happy coincidence.

I had several patients desperate for relief of some idiopathic symptom, whose doctors suggested just what you had done. In each case I suggested pre-treatment Hg levels, followed by immediate post-treatment Hg levels (because grinding out old amalgam fillings WILL very likely raise the levels temporarily), and then longer term follow up on the Hg levels.

Not once was my suggestion followed. It was strictly "shooting from the hip".

"I can't figure out why your stomach hurts, it must be those 'mercury' fillings."

I never did a large scale removal. I had a couple of patients who had one or two very small amalgam restorations, and in my opinion removing and replacing with composite wasn't going to hurt anything, so I did it, even though the Dr. who recommended it would not agree to measuring Hg to see if it really changed anything. In neither case did the symptoms abate.
I had two cases where it would have involved removing many perfectly acceptable (from a restorative aspect) amalgams, replacing with composite, at the cost of several thousands of dollars, and I simply refused to participate. These patients had no trouble at all finding other dentists who were more than happy to do it. I encouraged them to have the Hg levels done, and as far as I knew, they never did it.
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:00 AM   #29
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Most of them have been replaced. The ones I have left are probably more than 30 years old, and when they start showing clear signs of deteriorating, out they go -- but not so much because of the mercury aspect, but because I don't want bacteria getting down through the cracks in the filling and causing problems which could eventually result in a root canal and a crown. That it gets rid of mercury in my mouth is a bonus. A new filling is a LOT cheaper and a lot less painful than all that.
Did you know that when a composite material "cures" i.e. transforms form liquid or doughy, to hard, it shrinks. Yes, it shrinks.
So, you fill a hole with composite, shine the magic light on it, and the material shrinks, do you think this might cause some problems?

The problems this shrinking can cause are:separation of the restoration from the tooth,
separation, or strain between the bottom of the restoration and the tooth which can result in a lot of sensitivity,

Now, these problem can be overcome, but over the many many years dentists have been trying to make this material work as predictably as "good old amalgam", these issues have continued to plague those who use them. I can absolutely promise you that EVERY manufacturer of composite systems, and the required adhesive systems that are used with composites, are marketing new "generations" of products, over and over again, and have been for decades, all promising to alleviate the basic issue of polymerization shrinkage. I could not count all of the lectures I've attended where this problem was proclaimed to have been "solved", only to learn at a subsequent lecture that once again, "it has been solved."

This does not mean that your dentist can't create a great, well serving composite restoration. But it does mean that the use of composites, especially on back teeth where you are going to exert large crushing forces, is extremely "technique sensitive", which is dental speak for "very easy to screw up".

The typical life expectancy of composites in back teeth in functional positions is way less than amalgam.
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:35 AM   #30
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Checking for deteriorating fillings is what dentists do when they examine you. I had an amalgam filling replaced for that reason a while ago.

With another amalgam filling -
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:44 AM   #31
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So are the composites holding-up well? Obviously if they didn't, that would be a strike against doing anything and letting sleeping dogs lie.
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The typical life expectancy of composites in back teeth in functional positions is way less than amalgam.
It seems people in this thread have not had an issue of their composites failing, but all I could get out of my dentist for durability is "they should last a good long time". The shrinkage problem wasn't discussed, but he did mention that he uses a newer system that has three different layers. But this reminds me of the various fresh water pipe systems we've gone through...lead, galvanized, copper, pvc, abs, pex. Some have held up ok, others have failed slowly (galvanized), and others have failed more quickly (abs), and others are too new to know (pex).

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A very balanced article on the subject, science-based, with good background material.

Does the ADA think that there is room for a subjective difference of opinion among dentists regarding the removal of amalgam fillings? Well, they are pretty clear about this:
Thanks for linking your research. Good stuff.

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Like others, I had plenty of amalgam fillings from the old days but I suspect they're all gone now.
Seems to be a common situation for the folks here on this board. A few were determined to get rid of them, but more just ended-up without them.

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Did you have your body's Hg levels measured before and after the procedures?
The before and after mercury levels would be a good idea for those people who suspected they were being affected by the metal. Never thought of that.

How about from a bacterial point of view? If you have a very old amalgam filling that's got cruddy looking margins, but is asymptomatic, would there be a possible benefit to removing sites where bacteria can linger? We're not talking about the bacteria that causes tooth decay here, because these fillings/teeth are stable. But there is a correlation between heart disease and oral health. And I met a guy while traveling, a retired dentist, that was naming off bacterial species and saying that there have been some discoveries now that we can cheaply sequence the bacteria that lives in us. I wondered (but we didn't get to discuss) what kind of bacteria is found under amalgam fillings (aerobic, I suppose), and if that gets out through the pores in the tooth or something. There's a place where one can get their microbiome sequenced (uBiome), and I hope they start making some discoveries. Seems like an easy thing to do: ask their customers how many of what kinds of fillings they have and then see if they've got different bugs living in their mouths. But is it true that amalgam fillings a simply adjacent to the natural tooth, whereas composite fillings actually bond to the tooth, leaving less space for bacteria?
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Old 11-23-2016, 12:34 PM   #32
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sengsational, regarding bonding to tooth, composites, unlike amalgams, are always (or should be) bonded to the tooth surface with the use of an adhesive system applied to the tooth prior to the actual "filling" of the tooth with the composite. How well this works varies with technique, and what part of the tooth one is bonding to.
Generally, the bond to enamel is many many times stronger than the bond to the underlying dentin, and getting any bond at all to dentin is very technique sensitive. One problem with posterior bonds occurs when the decay, or previous restoration, in between the teeth, extends under the gumline past (towards the root tip) where enamel feathers out. So the margin here will be under the gumline, and onto dentin rather than enamel. This is a high failure area. In the best of circumstances the bond is weak, and in poorly handled areas with any saliva contamination, the bond will be nonexistent. Combine nonexistent bond, with shrinkage forces and you have a recipe for disaster.

Having said that, there are techniques to handle this situation but they require extra steps to isolate the tooth from spit and blood, different materials at that interface before placing the composite, and a few other things ALL of which take time, and in the dental office time is MONEY.
Because of this issue, I found that mouths heavily restored with composite were much more prone to failures due to recurrent decay in these areas unless absolutely meticulous hygiene was practiced. Putting these restorations into Pepsi drinking teenage kids was an absolute recipe for disaster.
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Old 11-23-2016, 03:52 PM   #33
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My kids, amazingly, never had a cavity! Anyway, thanks for the heads-up on technique sensitive thing with bonding to dentin vs enamel.
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:13 PM   #34
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My kids, amazingly, never had a cavity! Anyway, thanks for the heads-up on technique sensitive thing with bonding to dentin vs enamel.

You didn't feed them enough Pepsi.
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Old 11-23-2016, 11:29 PM   #35
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Don't remember anything about H levels but they did do a lot of tests on
blood and some other things. Dentist and close assistant were suited up
with breathing apps and they kept strong suction going all the time.
Dentist also demanded I use chlorella while and after undergoing treatment to
help get rid of the heavy metals.

All of the composites they used have held up very good.
They also tested me for allergies against 4 pages of composites.
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Old 11-23-2016, 11:42 PM   #36
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I have old fillings that are ~40 yrs old and doing fine, if they deteriorate I get them replaced by the composite ones, just for vanity sake.
I was told by my dentist that the composite are not as durable as the mercury ones, but I won't really be around long enough to test that theory.
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Old 11-24-2016, 04:44 AM   #37
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Don't remember anything about H levels but they did do a lot of tests on
blood and some other things. Dentist and close assistant were suited up
with breathing apps and they kept strong suction going all the time.
Dentist also demanded I use chlorella while and after undergoing treatment to
help get rid of the heavy metals.

All of the composites they used have held up very good.
They also tested me for allergies against 4 pages of composites.
Did you test positive for allergies to any of the composites? What does "4 pages of composites" mean?

Did your dentist manage the blood (and other things) analysis, or was that your MD? I would love to know how all of this affected your Hg levels, since that is the supposed culprit.
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Old 11-24-2016, 03:56 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmass View Post
Don't remember anything about H levels but they did do a lot of tests on
blood and some other things. Dentist and close assistant were suited up
with breathing apps and they kept strong suction going all the time.
Dentist also demanded I use chlorella while and after undergoing treatment to
help get rid of the heavy metals.

All of the composites they used have held up very good.
They also tested me for allergies against 4 pages of composites.
Did you test positive for allergies to any of the composites? What does "4 pages of composites" mean?

Did your dentist manage the blood (and other things) analysis, or was that your MD? I would love to know how all of this affected your Hg levels, since that is the supposed culprit.
That is kind of funny - they apparently didn't do a single test to see just how much Hg was in your blood stream, but they DID do a test against "4 pages of composite components"
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Old 11-24-2016, 04:37 PM   #39
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Here's a good paper summarizing studies on the prevalence and normal symptoms of mercury allergies and sensitivities. Overall, it looks like fewer than 0.6% of people are allergic to elemental mercury, and that this allergy normally evidences itself in local reactions where the mercury is located (not a general systemic response). There's no good test to determine if a person is allergic to mercury in amalgam fillings, but a (negative) skin patch test appears to be useful in ruling it out.
There's >no way< I'd agree to have my amalgam fillings removed without some tests.
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Old 11-24-2016, 07:39 PM   #40
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I have old fillings that are ~40 yrs old and doing fine
Same here. In fact, most of my old amalgam fillings are about 45-47 years old now, and they keep hanging in there (with the exception of one or two that I've had replaced over the years). My dentist keeps looking at them every year at exam time, and his advice is to leave them alone if they look okay and are not causing any problems. Works for me
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