When I was a child, the standard of care for filling a cavity was to use an amalgam of over 50% mercury, silver and other metals. The benefit of these fillings was that they would last longer than composits (white fillings) and therefore cause less damage to a tooth that needed several replacement fillings. Today we are aware that these metals expand and contract with heat and cold causing healthy teeth to crack and break. We also know that mercury is considered a bio hazardous waste, which emits mercury vapors continuously and this is where the danger comes in.
Mercury is most dangerous as a vapor. The effects are associated with MS, Lupus, Thyroiditis, Autism, eczema, infertility, chronic systemic candida, impairment of central nervous system and kidneys to name a few. Mercury is very difficult to detoxify and will be passed on to fetuses in the womb and in breast milk. Mercury also blocks enzyme pathways which disrupts normal metabolic functions.
I believe my mercury symptoms began in 1999, so I finally had them removed in 2007. Even though they are gone, I am still dealing with the health consequences of having had mercury fillings. If you have any of the health issues mentioned above, there are specific dentists to consider using for amalgam removal. And if you are a parent or grandparent please consider using composite instead of metal fillings; besides their ugly to look at anyway.