How can I tell if fillings have mercury in them?

Hi, I was wondering if there was a way to tell if mercury was in fact in a person’s fillings. I believe i have all bonded composite fillings which are the most expensive of fillings and the most demanding job for the dentist. I have been going to the same dentist as a kid. He has always done a great job and with vertually no pain. My concern is with silver fillings in particular my girlfriend’s. Would there be a way to check for mercury in the tooth besides removal? or would she need to contact her dentist.

-joe from Illinois

There’s no need to take the fillings out or do any tests or ask the dentist. If they are silver fillings, then they have mercury in them. The only way to get silver to form a soft paste so that it can be squeezed into a filling is to mix it with mercury. It is mixed with the mercury immediately before it is put into the tooth, and then over a period of a few minutes, it hardens.

Dentists usually call them silver fillings, but the proper, technical name for them would be amalgam fillings. Amalgam is an alloy of some other metal and mercury. They are about 50% mercury, about 40% silver, and they have some copper and sometimes some tin and/or zinc as part of the alloy.

In other words, all “silver” fillings have mercury in them.

This blog is sponsored by West Palm Beach dentist Dr. Sam Sadati. Dr. Sadati is a mercury-free dentist.