Are There Dangers to Replace Amalgam Fillings?

Dentists routinely remove amalgam fillings every day. The procedure is so commonplace, that most insurance companies cover the replacement of an amalgam filling after one year. In fact, the average life of an amalgam filling is only 5.5 to 11.5 years.1

The primary risk to a patient’s health is the competency and training of the dentist. If improperly performed, the removal of amalgam fillings can cause more harm than good. During the removal of amalgam fillings, the patient can be exposed to amounts of mercury which are a thousand times greater than the EPA allowable concentration. It is important that the dentist is trained to protect you from high concentrations of mercury by following proper safety protocols. Please see the IAOMT website for accredited dentists who have certified compentency in safe amalgam filling removal.

In addition, amalgam alternatives may have a period of post operative sensitivity which usually last a couple of weeks and is common after any dental work is performed on the teeth. In rare cases of extreme post operative pain and sensitivity, root canal treatment may be needed to save the tooth.

The Alberta Dental Association and College does not recommend early removal and replacement of amalgam fillings. However, a filling more than 10 years old typically needs to be replaced because of leakage around the edges, excessive corrosion, and underlying decay. The initial placement of amalgam fillings creates areas of weakness in the tooth, which after years of chewing results in cracks that could require a crown and even a root canal to fix. Leaving old amalgam fillings until the tooth cracks or has pain can be more dangerous and costly than the risks associated with the placement of newer dental materials.

More About Mercury Fillings


  1. Maryniuk G.A. In search of treatment longevity—A 30 year perspective. JADA 109(5):739-744, 1984.

Disclaimer: Most dentists are not of the view that mercury amalgam is harmful to your health.