Dental amalgam and the risks

Exposure and Risk Assessment Dental amalgam has been used to restore teeth for nearly two hundred years, and doubts about the apparent contradiction of providing a health care service with a material that contains mercury have persisted the whole time.

Dental amalgam and the risks

Dental amalgam is a common material used to fill cavities.

Fillings made with amalgam also are known as silver fillings. Over the years, concerns have been raised about the use of amalgam because it contains mercury. Here are answers to some common questions about dental amalgam. Amalgam is a combination of metals that has been the most popular and effective filling material used in dentistry for the last years.

Although it sometimes is called "silver amalgam," amalgam actually consists of a combination of metals. These include silver, mercury, tin and copper. Small amounts of zinc, indium or palladium also may be used.

Tooth-colored materials now can be used to restore teeth. Therefore, amalgam is used less often than in the past. However, the newer materials can't be used for all situations.

Amalgam is less costly than other materials. It also holds up better over time, especially in teeth that undergo a lot of pressure and wear from chewing.

How safe is amalgam? Millions of people have amalgam fillings. Concern has been raised over the mercury in amalgam. Many studies on the safety of amalgam fillings have been done. Inthe U. It found no reason to limit the use of amalgam. The FDA concluded that amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children ages 6 and above.

However, some groups asked the FDA to reconsider. That review is under way. See the FDA's amalgam information page to learn more. Why is mercury used in amalgam? Mercury is used in amalgam because it helps make the filling material pliable. When it is mixed with an alloy powder, it creates a compound that is soft enough to mix and press into the tooth.

But it also hardens quickly and can withstand the forces of biting and chewing. Why the concern about mercury in amalgam?

Mercury is a metal that occurs naturally in the environment. Mercury can exist as a liquid, as in many thermometers. When heated, it becomes a gas. It also can be combined with many other materials. Everyone is exposed to mercury through air, drinking water, soil and food.

Concerns have been raised, for instance, about the amount of mercury building up in fish as a result of pollution. Mercury enters the air from industries that burn mercury-containing fuels. Mercury from all sources can build up in body organs.

Dental amalgam and the risks

As with most substances, the degree of harm caused by mercury in the body is related to the amount. Very low levels don't cause any ill effects. At higher levels — for instance, when workers are exposed to mercury through their jobs — mercury can cause several symptoms.

These include anxiety, irritability, memory loss, headaches and fatigue. The controversy over amalgam centers on how much mercury fillings released and how much the body absorbs. In the past, amalgam fillings were thought to be inert. This would mean that no mercury was released once the filling was placed in the tooth.Dec 20,  · Dental amalgam is a common material used to fill cavities.

Fillings made with amalgam also are known as silver fillings. Over the years, concerns have been raised about the use of amalgam because it contains mercury.

Though amalgam is capable of producing delayed hypersensitivity reactions in some individuals, if the recommended mercury hygiene procedures are followed the risks of . Nov 28,  · Dental amalgam is still widely used all over the world partly due to the fact that it is an inexpensive material and that it does not take as much skill to Location: North 33rd Street, Lincoln, , NE.

Jul 28,  · In the table below, FDA has identified the potential risks to health generally associated with the use of dental amalgam devices that this special controls guidance is intended to address.

Also, France had previously recommended that alternative mercury-free dental materials be used for pregnant women, and Austria, Canada, Finland, and Germany had been working to reduce the use of dental amalgam fillings for pregnant women and children.

Scientific proof of dental mercury’s hazards to children. Research on fetal and infant risks from dental amalgam has provided significant data associating the number of maternal amalgam fillings with mercury levels in cord blood; in the placenta; in the kidneys and liver of fetuses; in fetal hair; and in the brain and kidneys of infants.

Is Dental Amalgam Safe? Addressing the Risks of Mercury in Amalgam Fillings