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(919) 890-5147   |   3811 Ed Drive, Suite 120 Raleigh, NC 27612
3811 Ed Drive, Suite 120 Raleigh, NC 27612 (919) 890-5147

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Mercury Fillings: What’s the Big Deal?

tooth fillings raleighAt Russo DDS, we talk a lot about silver, mercury fillings.

What are mercury fillings, anyway?

Mercury fillings are an amalgam (which means to “mix with mercury”) consisting of mercury, silver, copper, tin, zinc, etc.; and have been used to fill teeth for over one hundred years. They are silver/black in color, not pleasing to the eye and they are literally wedged into your teeth to ensure a secure fit.

To clarify, metal does not bond to your teeth like tooth-colored composite fillings do, so they need to be mechanically retained inside your teeth by creating wedge-like tooth filling shapes. It’s not a natural dental process at all. In addition, mercury fillings begin to corrode at the junction of where the tooth meets the filling when the material sets up in your mouth during placement.


The average person has about half a dozen mercury fillings in their mouth. These fillings release micro amounts of mercury vapor every time they chew.

Other than the fact that many other countries ban the use of using mercury in dental fillings, what’s the big deal if I have black mercury fillings in my mouth?

Let’s think about that.

There is no Food and Drug Administration study on mercury fillings that connect these fillings to the development of specific health problems.

Still, people have different sensitivities to different things. Some people can drink alcohol and never develop health problems. Others consume alcohol and experience multiple health problems. Some people can eat gluten and have no issues. Then there are others who have serious intolerances to gluten and other foods.

As a practicing cosmetic dentist that sits on the cutting edge in my field, I often try to take a purist approach to dentistry and, specifically, dental materials. If it has the potential to create a negative health interaction, why use it? There are other options available.

I always want to be known for providing the most high-quality, most bio-compatible dental restorations possible; and I strive to treat others as I would myself or my family. I would never want corrosion reactions in my wife or kid’s mouths. It’s why I simply just don’t use the stuff.

To clear the air, I do not advocate that you have all your black mercury amalgam fillings removed at once. But, I do educate patients on the options available. You should know what they are and the damage they can cause to surrounding teeth from years of chewing on them. There are potential aesthetic solutions and alternatives to replacing black mercury amalgam fillings.

Keep smiling,

Justin Russo, DDS