The Hazard Lurking Under Your Old Dental Crowns

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Dental work has come a long way in just the last few decades, replacing former components and procedures with new ones that work more efficiently. If you've had dental work in decades gone by, you're probably well aware of how things have improved. However, what you might not know is that there's a chance there's a dangerous substance lurking in your old dental work that could harm you. If you had dental crowns installed over a decade or more that was preceded by a dental filling, you may need to have your crown and filling replaced.

The Problem

Generally speaking, dental crowns can last for a very long time without needing to be replaced. However, if you had dental amalgam fillings placed underneath your crown(s), you should consider visiting a dentist and having them remove it to change the filling underneath.

Dental amalgam is a type of filling material that is silver in appearance. Unfortunately, it contains mercury, which can release mercury vapors into the body over time.

Mercury and Its Risk

Various studies have found that mercury is harmful to the body and could potentially be linked to diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's. According to these studies, mercury from the amalgam fillings can be leached into the body from simple acts of friction or brushing your teeth. If you had amalgam fillings placed in your teeth that were then covered by a crown, you might not even know that you have the fillings. Visiting a dentist to find out if there's a silver amalgam filling underneath and to replace it is ideal.

Replacement Process

If you have dental amalgam fillings and want them replaced, your dentist will need to take special precautions to do so. Once the filling is completely removed, your dentist will thoroughly clean the area and put a new filling in place. This filling will most likely be made from composite resin, which closely matches the color of a tooth. Composite resin is safe and doesn't contain any mercury.

Once your new filling is in place, your dentist will install a new dental crown over it. You'll need a new crown because your old crown will have been in contact with the mercury, which makes it contaminated. Your new crown should last for many more years, which means you won't need to worry about it anytime soon.

It's reasonable to be worried about the presence of mercury in your dental fillings if they were placed many years ago. If you're worried, talk with your dentist about new dental crowns.