This is an excellent question we are regularly asked. When people question the safety of silver amalgam fillings, most people are referring to the mercury content. While it’s true that trace amounts of mercury are released from an amalgam filling, the amounts are so small they are found to have no impact on health. For a person with 5 large amalgam fillings, the daily amount of mercury released is 0.85μg. To put that in perspective, this is less than trace amounts found in every day foods like fruit, vegetables and eggs. By comparison, one can of tuna contains 20μg of mercury. Fortunately, the only proven rare side effect is a localised allergic reaction. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has rejected all other claimed side effects.
So, should I replace my amalgam fillings? Unless the amalgam shows signs of chipping, cracking, leakage or decay underneath, replacing an amalgam is unnecessary. The tooth may be further weakened and put at risk of pain or discomfort following the removal of the filling. However, if it causes an unsightly appearance, then replacement may be an option. You should discuss the pros and cons of replacement with your dentist.