Mercury amalgam fillings have been used for over 150 years as a cheaper alternative to gold fillings. When they were first used, there was less awareness of the toxicity of mercury, but over time we have become more aware of the toxic nature of mercury.

Now many people are nervous about the presence of mercury in fillings, though others assert that mercury fillings don’t lead to increased mercury in the body, especially not methylmercury, the highly toxic form found in seafood and other organic sources.

But now one of the largest studies ever has shown that having 8 or more mercury fillings can increase levels of mercury in your blood by as much as 150%–including levels of toxic methylmercury.

young woman smiling while sitting in a dental chair

Building a Better Mercury Study

This is not the first study to look at mercury levels related to amalgam fillings, but it is better than previous studies for several reasons. It’s the first study conducted in the US that includes a nationally representative sample–nearly 15,000 individuals from across the country.

To get a better indicator of true mercury levels in the body, this study used blood samples. Previous studies tended to rely on urine samples or mercury vapor in the mouth. Urine samples are the easiest to collect, but urine mercury levels show only what is leaving the body, not what is staying in the body. The levels are more likely to fluctuate due to short-term exposures.

This study also did a thorough statistical analysis of the data, correcting for many factors such as age, race, gender, education, smoking, and seafood consumption. As we noted seafood is a known source of mercury exposure, because mercury concentrates in marine ecosystems, especially predatory fish..

No Doubt about It: Fillings Raise Toxic Mercury

Advocates for mercury fillings argued against their toxicity with several points. They argued that fillings didn’t raise mercury. Or, if they did, it was mostly an increase in elemental mercury, which is less toxic.

But this new study provides compelling evidence: metal amalgam fillings raise mercury levels, including levels of methylmercury. It was found that individuals with 8 or more fillings had blood mercury levels 150% of those in people with no fillings. And the increase in methylmercury levels was actually even higher! Researchers noted that the methylmercury was likely derived from elemental mercury that had been metabolized by gut bacteria.

Safe Removal of Mercury Fillings

We understand that many people may be concerned by these new findings and may want to remove mercury fillings.

We can remove your mercury fillings and replace them with safer and more attractive tooth colored fillings. Please call (585) 244-3337 today for an appointment with a Rochester, NY metal-free dentist at Contemporary Dentistry.