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What is an Amalgam Filling?

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For over 150 years, dentists have used a type of filling called ‘amalgam filling’. You may have also heard of it by the name of ‘silver fillings,’ although silver is only a very minor ingredient in the mixture. The main ingredient is mercury – a toxic chemical.
Amalgam Filling
Dr. Ken Wolch doesn’t use mercury amalgam in his fillings, and he hasn’t for over three decades. A growing number of dentists and health organizations realize that it is unsafe and irresponsible to introduce this harmful substance to patients and the environment.

  • Risks of mercury exposure

Mercury is a type of neurotoxin, which means that it can harm brain and nerve functions. Youth, pregnant mothers, and people with kidney problems are all at a greater risk from mercury’s toxicity. It can even pass from a mother to an unborn baby.

  • Mercury contamination

The mercury in amalgam fillings does not simply stay bound up in the filling. It has opportunities to escape into our bodies and the environment. Eating, drinking, and brushing our teeth all wear away small amounts of the fillings. Over time, the mercury released from fillings builds up in your body.

The leading source of mercury in wastewater is dental amalgam. Dental clinics that still use mercury amalgam fillings inevitably end up releasing some mercury. Furthermore, mercury escapes into the environment though cremation or burial when people with amalgam fillings pass away.

  • Mercury in the environment

After dental mercury gets out into the environment, it ends up in water systems in an even more toxic form, methyl mercury. Due to the widespread use of mercury, many rivers, coastal areas, and lakes (including all of the Great Lakes) have dangerous mercury contamination.

  • Harmful to wildlife

Lots of wild animals, including some endangered species have suffered as a result of mercury contamination in their habitats.

Furthermore, mercury becomes concentrated in fish, which can come back to harm human health when we eat them. Mercury build-up is one of the main reasons doctors discourage people from eating certain types of fish.

  • Phasing out mercury

Most other medical practices and consumer products that used to contain mercury have switched to other safer materials. From thermometers to paints, mercury-free alternatives have become the norm instead of the exception. While many other dentists still insist on using amalgam fillings, we know that they are not safe or responsible. That is why we only use mercury-free materials when we place fillings.


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Dr. Tali Waksman
A graduate from the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto, Dr. Tali Waksman went on to work as the only dentist on a Native reserve, serving 2000 people after completing a residency at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. With a warm and friendly personality and close attention to detail, she treats every patient like family.