Is Mercury Still Used in Dental Implants?

Do dental implants contain mercury? If so, why? Do dentists still use mercury-containing materials and are dental implants safe?

Key takeaways:

Rest assured, you cannot get mercury poisoning from modern dental implant designs. In fact, implants are made from hypoallergenic, biocompatible materials that are extremely safe.

What is mercury and do dental implants contain mercury?

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can be found in various forms, including as a liquid (called metallic mercury) or as a vapor. It is a toxic substance that can have negative effects on human health, particularly on the nervous system.

Dental implants are a popular and effective solution for replacing missing or damaged teeth. They are made of biocompatible materials, such as titanium, that integrate with the jawbone to provide a stable base for a replacement tooth. Unlike traditional dental fillings, dental implants do not contain any mercury or mercury byproducts.

Mercury, frequently seen in traditional silver fillings, has been used in dentistry for decades, but concerns about the potential health risks associated with mercury exposure have led to a decrease in their use. Dental implants, on the other hand, are made of hypoallergenic materials that are safe for the body and do not pose the same health risks as mercury-containing fillings. In fact, the titanium used in traditional dental implants is also used for surgical procedures such as joint replacement.

Can you get mercury poisoning from your teeth and dental work?

Conventional dental fillings, also known as silver fillings, have been used for many years to treat cavities. However, concerns have been raised about the potential health risks associated with exposure to mercury, which is combined with several other metals to create an alloy to fill teeth.

Mercury poisoning typically only occurs when someone is exposed to the element in its liquid or vapor form. Once a filling is placed, there is no risk of mercury exposure. However, mercury vapor can be released from dental fillings when they are placed, removed, or adjusted. While the levels of mercury vapor released are generally low, some individuals may be more susceptible to the effects of mercury exposure than others.

The American Dental Association (ADA) states that dental fillings containing mercury are safe for use in teeth, and the amount of mercury released is not a cause for concern. However, alternative materials such as composite resin and ceramics are available for dental fillings which do not contain mercury. These mercury-free fillings are also matched to your tooth structure, providing aesthetic benefits as well as restorative ones.

When did dentists stop using mercury?

In recent years, many dentists have stopped using dental fillings that contain mercury. Instead, most of them prefer tooth-colored composite fillings when appropriate. Tooth-colored composite fillings are made of a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles, which can be matched to the color of the natural tooth and provide a more aesthetically pleasing result. They also provide a better bond to the tooth structure, making them less invasive to your enamel, unlike traditional amalgam fillings, which are “packed” into the tooth and require the removal of additional tooth structures to place them.

However, there are still instances where amalgam fillings are necessary, such as when a tooth cannot be isolated and kept completely dry during the restorative procedure.

Another reason for the shift away from silver fillings is concerns about the potential health risks associated with exposure to mercury. While the American Dental Association (ADA) states that dental fillings containing mercury are safe for use in teeth, many dentists prefer to use tooth-colored composite fillings as an alternative, as they do not contain any mercury or mercury byproducts.

What are dental implants made from?

Dental implants are made from biocompatible materials that are well-tolerated by the body.

  • Titanium. The most common material used for dental implants is titanium, a strong and durable metal that is also hypoallergenic. So even if you have a metal allergy, titanium is extremely safe to use. Titanium has a unique ability to attract bone tissue, causing it to fuse across the surface of the implant, a process known as “osseointegration. This process is what helps to secure the implant in place permanently.
  • Ceramics. Zirconia and other and similar ceramics are materials that can be used for dental implants. These materials are also biocompatible and can provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth, but they may not fuse as well with bone tissue as titanium does.

If you have metal sensitivities, talk to your dentist

Dental implants are a safe and effective way to replace missing teeth and provide a strong foundation for your new smile. Implants do not contain mercury. However, if you have a metal sensitivity, it is important to discuss this with your dentist before getting dental implants. Your dentist can help determine if dental implants are a suitable option for you and recommend alternative materials if necessary.

Overall, dental implants are a reliable and durable option for those who are missing one or more teeth and want to regain their ability to chew and speak comfortably, as well as restore the appearance of their smile.

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