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To be suprised that NHS dentisits put mercury fillings in

(27 Posts)
feellikeahugefailure Wed 16-Mar-16 11:53:08

I haven't needed a filling for many years but now need one replaced. I didn't realise that NHS still do mercury fillings. I've spent most of my adult life in a country where these are banned.

It all sounds very Victorian imo.

BrideOfWankenstein Wed 16-Mar-16 12:04:58

They don't use them in the country where I'm from either.
Tbh they put me off going to the dentist here.

MackerelOfFact Wed 16-Mar-16 12:11:02

It's not really mercury, it's amalgam which is an alloy containing mercury among other materials.

My DP is a dentist and would have amalgam fillings any day of the week - resin composite (white filling material) contains compounds which have been found to be carcinogenic, so aren't actually any safer. These aren't available on the NHS.

If you're worried about filling materials, talk to you dentist about alternative restoration options (but be prepared to pay ££).

feellikeahugefailure Wed 16-Mar-16 12:17:19

I hear what your saying Mackerel, and I would expect a dentist to practice what they preach. But amalgam does contain a large amount of mecruy.

Agree that composite still has issues however you can get BPA free composite.

It looks like the best filling is Porcelain, but this is out of my budget at the moment.

MackerelOfFact Wed 16-Mar-16 12:42:48

It's not perfect but I guess like anything on the NHS, unfortunately it's a weigh up between cost vs efficacy vs risk.

I don't know which countries have banned amalgam but I would assume their governments probably don't have to worry about paying for or subsiding alternatives.

ifgrandmahadawilly Wed 16-Mar-16 12:49:56

Yep, it's shit.

When I was pregnant I needed 4 fillings in my back teeth (I'd never had one before, for some reason pregnancy made my teeth fall apart). White fillings are only available on the NHS for front teeth so my options were either pay for them (£320) or go without, as I couldn't find a dentist who would put mercury fillings into a pregnant or breastfeeing woman.

Unfortunately, I couldn't afford to get the fillings and now my teeth are a blooming mess. One of them has actually decayed the bone in my face.

Why are dentists refusing to put in amalgalm fillings if you're pregnant, if they are so safe?

feellikeahugefailure Wed 16-Mar-16 17:21:40

Well the price isn't that different if you don't get free dental. 50 for a mercury filling or 85 for a white one.

Wow willy thats awful, id assume you would qualify for free white ones if they wouldn't put mercury fillings in if you were preg or feeding!

Paperchaserr Wed 16-Mar-16 17:23:53

My dentist uses white fillings because I insist but doesn't want to because they are not as hard-wearing. Private so it's not anything to do with saving money.

ConfuciousSayWhat Wed 16-Mar-16 17:29:48

My dc needed a filling due to weak enamel. We couldn't afford a white filling so amalgam it was. The dentist said there were no risks in an amalgam filling.

bonzo77 Wed 16-Mar-16 17:41:07

Dentist here. Amalgam is far from perfect. But 1. It performs and lasts extremely well. 2. It is cheap. 3. It is under most circumstances safe 4. It has a long history of use and therefore long term effects are relatively well understood. Conversely white fillings are comparatively short lived, expensive. And some of the chemicals involved in their manufacture and use are known to be dangerous too: phosphoric acid anyone? Amalgam is seriously quick to place and performs really well even when placed under difficult circumstances. Composite for example cannot be used where there is any moisture (hello? Saliva?). I regularly see amalgam fillings that are 50+ years old (have records of the fillings being placed by my predecessors). Another wonderful thing about amalgam is that you can use "sedative" linings underneath, these are used in cases of some tooth aches and can allow you to avoid a root canal. These cannot be used under composite as they react badly together.

I could go in for ever really.

KnappShappey Wed 16-Mar-16 19:11:18

This has made me wonder...... are gold filling really made of gold? confused

Ragusa Wed 16-Mar-16 19:15:09

Is there actual, proper scientific evidence that mercury fillings are harmful or should I get my tinfoil hat now (no pun intended)?

lertgush Wed 16-Mar-16 19:19:55

Most of my amalgam fillings have failed and been replaced. I'm 46.

JizzyStradlin Wed 16-Mar-16 19:26:17

My dentist was happy to do an amalgam filling when I was heavily pregnant. I offered to wait a few weeks, if that was safer, but she was keen to do it asap. This was just a couple of years back, so I presume it's current thinking.

BikeRunSki Wed 16-Mar-16 19:32:04

I got a white filling in a back tooth on the nhs when I was pregnant, but that was 4 years ago.

MsMargaretCarter Wed 16-Mar-16 19:36:06

I got temporary fillings when pregnant, both pregnancies, and then the dentist replaced them with amalgam after the babies were born.

bonzo77 Wed 16-Mar-16 19:37:39

They are not Mercury fillings. They are amalgam. Once placed and hardened there is virtually no free Mercury. I apologise as I am not current on the evidence having not used amalgam for some time (only because the specific nature of my work means fillings are few and far between). They have however been used since at least 1880 and there would be much evidence of harm by now if there was much to be found. Amalgam can cause lichenoid reactions, staining of the filled teeth and amalgam tattoos (where amalgam debris gets incorporated into soft tissues, usually after extraction of a removed tooth.

The effect on the environment however is well documented, and for me is the better argument for its being phased out.

Gold fillings are indeed gold. They do contain other metals too, but far more gold than there is Mercury in amalgam. Actual gold fillings (where the material is placed directly into the tooth) are very unusual these days. Mostly they are made outside the mouth on a mould of the tooth, then cemented in place. They have largely fallen out of favour as for all that faff you can have something made in porcelain which looks far more natural. But gold is very useful, often the best material in some circumstances. It has been used for 1000's of years.

Drinksforeveryone Wed 16-Mar-16 19:39:24

I had composite fillings put in 5 of my back teeth about 30 years ago. I was working as a dental nurse and had my amalgam fillings removed and replaced for free at work ;)

They are still perfectly fine. No issues whatsoever.

So they are certainly hard wearing.

KnappShappey Wed 16-Mar-16 19:46:25

Thanks Bonzo I love a factoid, I shall add this to my interesting things to know about list! grin

Mrsmorton Wed 16-Mar-16 21:13:23

The best way to avoid mercury amalgam fillings is to reduce sugar, brush your teeth well using a fluoride toothpaste and do some flossing. Far easier than angsting about non existent problems with dental materials. FWIW (as a dentist) amalgam is an excellent material.

If you have gold put into your teeth you should get a statement of manufacture which details who made it and what it's made from.

grannytomine Wed 16-Mar-16 21:27:26

I had two gold fillings when I was pregnant. As bonzo77 describes they were made and then fitted and cemented in. This was 25 years ago so I don't know if the NHS still does this, probably not, but they have been excellent and I've never had a problem with them.

feellikeahugefailure Thu 17-Mar-16 11:04:34

1. It performs and lasts extremely well. 2. It is cheap. 3. It is under most circumstances safe 4. It has a long history of use and therefore long term effects are relatively well understood

You've pretty much confirmed what I was thinking - its used mainly as its cheap and hard wearing. The affects I guess aren't huge considering we live in a polluted planet and diesel fumes, chemically sprayed crops and all that. But I would like to limit my exposure to these things.

It's a bit late to avoid getting the filling, I was a teen when I had my two fillings!

Dentists - what are the other options for a filling? Porcine? How much in the UK? Is it worth going on holiday somewhere in eastern europe that does it for 200 euros? Or is that asking for it?

This comment read else where worried me

*The bottom line is modern dentistry is barbaric. Mercury is highly toxic and is not "locked" - it releases vapour. White fillings are made with BPA - a potent hormone disruptor and factor in cancer. Root canal is highly hazadous to health as it locks in many pathoegenic bacteria - the waste products of which enter the blood stream, causing much illness that your dentist or even doctor will never get to the bottom of.

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook*

NotCitrus Thu 17-Mar-16 13:07:46

There was a trend to blame amalgam fillings for all sorts of health problems some years back (mid 90s). Thing is, while there is a risk of mercury vapour when doing the fillings, as a one-off that's not too much of a problem (it was hatters who used mercury daily that got brain damage from it, not all the other professions who occasionally touched the stuff). Once in place as solid amalgam, there's no real risk - but removing them could again risk mercury vapour.

Similar with BPA - I wouldn't recommend eating the stuff but for a filling should be fine. Mercury is also part of the preservative thiomersal (also called thimerosal) used in many medicines, because in the dose used, it's nowhere near toxic. But anti-vaxxers swear the stuff must be terrible because it contains mercury (and thus also boycott vaccines where thiomersal isn't used...)

I'm about to get a crown put on a front tooth in hospital, as the one my dentist has done 5 times keeps falling off. Anything I should ask them to do/not do? I'm not sure what the white stuff was!

Mrsmorton Thu 17-Mar-16 15:48:32

Not sure about "porcine" fillings. Some pork derived stuff is used in local antibiotic delivery systems but never heard of porcine fillings. Ceramics and gold are inert but they need to be cemented in with something which almost certainly isn't inert.

There's a huge amount of scaremongering which surprisingly enough makes a lot of money for some people. It's kind of up to you as a consumer to make a risk benefit analysis based on the research that you seem relevant and good quality. Bear in mind though that dentists don't have to compromise on the standard of their work because you want a different material, they may prefer to help you find another dentist.

MackerelOfFact Thu 17-Mar-16 16:26:37

With all due respect OP, dentists have to go through 7 years of study and training to qualify and need to complete a fair bit of ongoing training to maintain their registration with the General Dental Council in the UK. I would probably trust their professional judgement above the opinions of random commenters on the Daily Fail website.

If dentists genuinely believed amalgam and its vapours posed a serious threat to health, do you really think they would spend hours every day using the stuff?

I'm not a dentist (although I do work in the industry in more of a research/regulatory role for a national dental body) and I wouldn't personally recommend going abroad for treatment. Unless you can guarantee or verify the dentists' qualifications, fitness to practise, registration status, license status of the products/devices/treatments, their adherence to evidence-based guidelines, regulation of the dental practice, etc etc etc I wouldn't go near them. You can do all of this very easily for any dentist or practice in the UK via the GDC and/or CQC.

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